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VOL. I. 





I vnsm to Port Phillip in the latter end of 1852 with the 
intention of making a rapid but observant tour of that 
colony, and giving the results to the public in the following 
year. But the glowing temptations to speculate, the rich 
visions of yellow nuggets, contrasted so alluringly with the 
stunted rewards of literary labour, that I soon abandoned 
the aspiration of flourishing on paper for the expectation of 
figuring more profitably in trading, land jobbing, or digging 

I have endeavoured to narrate faithfully the chequered 
vicissitudes of my various avocations, because they tend in a 
great measure to illustrate the unprecedented progress of 
the colony in its social, political, commercial, and mining 
phases ; and though many of the details may be devoid of 
that stirring interest suited to the desultory reader, I trust 
they are so far imbued with truthful information as to redeem 
them from any general verdict of condemnation. Intent, 
it may be said, is a condiment capable of being manufactured 
specially to flavour literary ragouts ; but as such an article 
only amalgamates genially with apocryphal information, I 
preferred telling my story without any such seasoning, rather 
than have the authenticity of the scattered crumbs of intelli- 
gence it contains called in question. 


I had the good fortune" during my homeward voyage of 
numbering amongst my fellow-passengers several expe- 
rienced gentlemen, whose knowledge of commercial and dig- 
ging matters enabled me to fill up many skeleton sketches, 
to prune down occasional exuberances, and to enumerate 
dogmatically certain opinions concerning the auriferous re- 
sources of the colony, which I would not otherwise have 
ventured to whisper, clashing as they do with the grave 
pronunciations of a scientific commission. 

Some of my sketches may appear overdrawn to the home 
reader, as popular illustrations of Petticoat-lane scenes do 
to the antipodean denizens of Belgravia. But I can appeal 
to any candid dweller in Victoria, during the periods about 
which I write, if there is a tint or trait too highly coloured, 
or too broadly elaborated. To the colonial reader I will only 
make this prefatory observation. If at times he finds it 
difficult to detect the outlines of my pictures through the 
dull haze of description, he must at once refer it to my want 
of graphic power, and call to mind the plaintive avowal of a 
poetic prototype, who once upon a time sang in deprecation 
of cavil — 

I give thee all, I can no more, 
Though poor the offering be. 

In conclusion, I have to remark that long ere these 
volumes are encased in their covers, I shall be far away on 
my voyage towards the most modern of gold-fields — British 
Columbia — to face another campaign of houseless wander- 
ings, through savage tribes and sterile wildernesses, and I 
therefore trust both critics and readers will extend to me a 
modicum of that proverbial immunity usually awarded to 
departed friends — an anticipative type of which charitable 
principle was formerly practised even by the Colonial Office, 
in supplementing the outfits of Sierra Leone officials, by 


granting them liberal allowances towards their funeral ex- 
penses. Besides, I must mention in confidence that I write 
"a shocking bad" hand, and I fear much that the gentle- 
man who has kindly undertaken the task of correcting the 
proofs, will find it fraught with hieroglyphical difficulties 
alike beyond his anticipations and his capabilities. 


P.S. — I wish I could have launched my book under shelter 
of a respectful dedication, but as that solemn rite is never 
ventured on without a " kind permission," I must content 
myself by stating that, had I the authority, I would have 
enthroned as its patriarchal patron the Honourable John 
Fascoe Fawkner, M.L.C., who, " take him for all in all," is 
indubitably the foremost man in the colony of Victoria. It 
was his bold enterprise that first broke the long sleep of 
primeval nature in that favoured land, and beckoned thither 
Christian light as well as British energy, and he now enjoys 
the rare felicity of seeing the savage desert of 1835 invested 
with all the exalted functions of a nascent empire, beating 
throughout its remotest extremities with the strong, healthy 
pulse of civilisation, attracting commerce and settlers from 
every quarter of the globe, and feeding the mills and mints 
of the universe with her staple products. Mr. Fawkner 
found the site of Melbourne an aboriginal wilderness, and he 
will leave on it the queen city of the southern hemisphere. 




Physical Effects of Wild Travel— A strange Ship's Crew— Curious 
Conditions of Passage — Leave San Francisco for the Sandwich 
Islands — A natural Picture — A dilapidated Digger — A Glance at 
his Life — His Ideas regarding Port Phillip— His Advice to go them 
— I leave him at Honolulu — Hear of the Australian Discoveriea on- 
reaching England — Determine on going there— ]£y $tart— Deal 
Boats and Boatmen — Curious Errand — Scene in Margate Boads^s 
Gales in the Channel — " Cheer, Boys, cheer' 1 — Madeira— Trinidad 
— Martin Bass Rocks — Waterspout— -Cape de Yerds— Butter in the 
Tropics — Ship's Tarn — Scenes on the Line — Alarming Thunder-? 
storm — Moral and Religious Reflections— Reasons for diverging to 
th& Cape of Good Hope .....,./ 1 


Sight Table Mountain — Extraordinary Optical Illusion on entering 
Table Bay — Cape Town and Neighbourhood — Society there — Trade 
— Country Excursion — Visit Scyoli, the captive Cafire Chief, at 
Wynebergh — Leave the Cape of Good Hope — Great Excitement at 
Sea — An Expedition — Its Result — Our Consolation — Sight St. 
Paul's and Amsterdam — Description of those Islets — Mate Cape 
Otway Light— Scene on entering Port Phillip Heads — Shipwreck of 
the Sacramento— Port Phillip in 1799 and in 1853— Mrs. Hartley's, 
Letter of the former Date — Appearance of the Heads— Williams-, 
town— Sandridge — Shore Scenery— Shore Canvassers — Our Passage 
contrasted with the first Voyage of the Marco Polo— Tfte past Style 
of Navigation and tjie present 14 




Batman's first Visit to Port Phillip— Its first terrestrial Christening— 
The first Deed of Conveyance — Its Character — The Consideration — 
First City Site chosen on Gellibrand's Point — Abandoned soon after 
on the Discovery of the Yarra-Yarra — Translated to the Site of the 
present Capital — Description of Williamstown in 1852— Williams- 
town in 1857 — Colonial Steam-boat — Her Arrangements — Her Pas- 
sengers—The Three Swells— The Contrast they afforded— The Yarra 
Banks — The Mooring-post — The Landing — Dismay of the Swells at 
the Aspect of Affairs — State of the River Banks— Destruction of 
Merchandise — Past and Present — Bay and River Charges — The first 
Acre sown with Wheat in Port Phillip— Its present Use and Value — 
The first Church Service " in the new and happy Land" — Batman's 
first Sheep Station— Its present Flock — Origin of the Plan of Mel- 
bourne — Interesting Extract — San Francisco compared with Mel- 
bourne 28 


The old Post-office — The new one — A City Stroll — Melbourne Cos- 
tume in 1853— liberty Egalit^, Fraternity— The Ladies to be seen 
in Public in these Days — Their Costumes — Their floral and other 
Ornaments — Their Style of Shopping — A Digger's Gallantry— Mel- 
bourne Streets and Trottoirs in 1853 — The Difficulties of Locomo- 
tion — Hanging up your Horse — Bullock Teams — Irregularity of the 
Houses— Public-houses — Equality of Sexes at their Bars — The 
Christian Character of their Signboards — Groups of new Chums — 
An Old Friend in a new Guise — Canvas Town — Benjamin Edgington 
—His Yankee Competitor — His charitable instincts — Curiosities of 
Literature — Mrs. Malony and her sympathetic Neighbours — Danger 
and Retreat — Emerald Hill— Rent a Residence there— Style of Ar- 
chitecture — Domestic Transparencies — Melbourne Restaurant in 
1853— Difficulty about Beds— Night Row — Miraculous Escape— A 
Melbourne Boniface in 1853 — The Digger's Banker— Our first Bed 
in the Colony 44 


Visit the Ship for the last Time — Williamstown Boatmen— Sandridge 
Porters — Uniform Charge of One Guinea — Seizure of our Surplus 
Stores — Commence Housekeeping— New Allies — Woman's Skill in 
Domestic Economy — Household Arrangements — Our Neighbours — 
Colonial Mode of getting into the next House — Digger City Life — 
Female Relaxations — Division of Labour-r-The Victorian Panacea 
—A Ramble on Emerald Hill— The Multitude of Dental Surgeons 




— The Druggist's Shop — The Druggist's Suggestion — Diploma for 
Sale — The Druggist's Description of Colonial M.D.S and Chemicals 
—View from the Hill — Meet unexpectedly a Legal Friend— -His Garb 
—His Dwelling— His Sketch of the Profession— First Evening at 
Home . 62 


Heavy Rain — New Mode of Ferrying — A Short Morning's Earnings 
— Morning Levee at an M.D.'s — Aspect of the Surgery — Quality of 
the Patients— Mistresses and Servants — Nonchalance of Servant- 
girlism— Groom's Duties— Wild Sports of the West in Great 
Bourke-street — Composition of the Frequenters of that Locality- 
Price of Victorian Oysters — A Glance at the Auction Marts — Aban- 
don my Equestrian Ideas — Auctioneers' Profits — Horse planting — 
Estimate of Horse Keep — Encounter an English Turfite late from 
the Levant— His Antipodean Ideas— The Bull and Mouth— The 
Goings-on there — The Profits— The Atmosphere — The prevailing 
Notions about Drinking— Fish, Fowl, and Vegetables— Truant Hen 
—The County Court — Style of Practice — Auction Marts for Mer- 
chandise—House Rent — Big Clarke — Fortunes made under Con- 
straint — Instance given — Break up the Emerald Hill Establishment 75 


Saturday in Melbourne — House Rents in 1853 — The Chancery-lane of 
Victoria — Its Denizens — The Barristers and Attorneys of that Day 
— Contrasts of their domestic Menage— Foot-note — Newspapers of 
the Day — John Pascoe Fawkner, Esq. — His Pen-and-ink News- 
paper—The Advertiser — Extract from that original Periodical — Its 
first Issue in Type — Leading Article— Advertisement — Extinction 
of the Advertiser — New Journal — Reappearance of the Advertiser — 
Glance at the Career of J. P. Fawkner — Herald and Argue— Won- 
derful Start of the Argue on the Gold Discovery — Struggles of the 
Herald— Success of its Contemporary — Their common Creed — Dif- 
ferent Manner of instilling their Doctrines— Argue Persecution of 
Governor Latrobe — His Antecedents — His Qualification — Great 
Difficulties of his Position- Released from the Pillory by the Ar- 
rival of Mr. Secretary Foster— Argue Politics the Politics of Men . 92 


Melbourne on the Sabbath— Professor Sands — His Saloon— His Style 
of doing Business — Free-trade and Religious Toleration — Sabba- 
tarian Discipline — Sudden Changes of Temperature— Botanic Gar- 



dens — South. Yam — Cynical Stranger — His Mode of accounting 
for the Good Behaviour of the Multitude — Diggers' Robing-room — 
Encounter with a Lunatic — St Kilda — House upset — Its Strange 
Appearance — Lose my Way returning Home at Night — Reaeh 
Home safe in the Morning 105 


S rbfl's Auction Mart — Business set to Music — The Jewish Per- 
suasion—Bow m the Auction-room — Profits in 1863 — Champagne 
Lunoh at St. Kilda — Auction Vultures — Spirited Bidding — Profes- 
sional Advertising Manufacture— Specimen Advertisement — Fabu- 
lous Price of Land at that Period — Heavy Fall of Rain — Its Effect 
on the Streets — Their Appearance during the Flood and after its 
Subsidence— These Floods not to be arrested — Their Sanitary 
Effects counterbalance their Temporary Inconvenience — The Argus 
Dini&g-rooms — Their Menage— Determine on going to the Theatre 
— Out-door Arrangements — In-door Appearances — The Audience 
described — How the Tragedy of " Hamlet" was played — Scenes and 
Incidents during the Performance — Strange Request made of Ophelia 
— Tim Jones's Speech and his Quaint Announcement — Colloquy 
between the Gravedigger and the other- Diggers — Happy Conclusion 
— Scene at the Bar of the Public— Solemn Declaration . . . 117 


Emigrant Rag Fair — Its Success and Abolition — Large Admixture of 
the Celtic Element — Their Industry and Morality — Government 
Land Sale Reunion— Big Clarke, his Character and Possessions — 
First Lesson on the Land Question— Squatters, their Use and Abuse 
—Their absurd Demands for Compensation — Melbourne Prices for 
Houses and Lands — 16,800?. for one Acre — A Contested Election 
for the City — Tameness of the Scene — Contrast between it and an 
Irish Contest — Scenes on board the Geelong Steam-boat — Mode of 
going to the Theatre in Geelong in 1853 — My Mishap — My sleep- 
ing Neighbours— Their Explanation to prevent Misconception — My 
Dreams 137 


A Morning Peep at my sleeping Neighbours— Geelong — Its Aspect in 
1853, and its future Pretensions — Mistake of its Patrons in not 
having their first Railway to Baliarat — Bullock and Horse-teams to 
the Diggings— Their respective Rates and Advantages — My Start 
for Baliarat— Adventure at Batespond— Escape from a Bushranger 

CONTENTS, liii j 

— The Basin of the Batwon — O'Meara's Public — The Occurrences of 
the Evening — Diabolical Attempt of a Brace of Footpads — Their 
bloodless Defeat — Make some new Acquaintances — Our next Day's 
Journey — An Australian Shepherd— Russell's Station — Human 
Nature ternta unanimated Nature — Out Police Station — Experi- 
ment in the Admixture of Virgin Water with Brandy — Assisted by 
Her Majesty's Mail-man, who carries our Luggage over the Bogs- 
Watson's Public — The Company there, and their Proceedings- 
Overtake a Party of Sailors bound for the Diggings — Spend the 
Night together at Bunuingyong 165 


The Brutality of Bullock-drivers all over the World— Clever Trick of 
a Grog-seller — Contrast in Appearance betwixt California and Vic- 
toria—Contrast in the Aspect of the Diggers as well — Post-office at 
Ballarat — Placard Advertisements. — Find my digging Friends — The 
Hole of the Great Nuggets-Speculations on Gold Deposits — My first 
Descent — Comfortless Aspect of Diggers' Tents — Diggers and Com- 
missioners — Put my Scotch Friends in Harness — Saildrs' Luck 
exemplified — The Digger Hunt and its Incidents — Capital Ruse in 
an Emergency— Government naturally held responsible for the Mal- 
administration of its Officials 176 


Ballarat in 1853— A Reason for the crowding of lucky Diggers info 
Melbourne — The Government Camp of the Period —Stores and 
Storekeeping in Victoria contrasted with the System in California — 
Domestic Manage of Storekeepers — Commence my Researches as a 
Fossicker — Favourable Reception in that Character — Discover Quan- 
tities of Gold in the Tail-stuff — The Discovery does not tend to 
improve the Operations of tine Diggers — Surface Gold — Think of 
abandoning the Pen tot the Pick — Modern Discoveries at Variance 
with the received Geological Theories — Perplexing Scarcity Of 
Quart* at Ballarat^Absurd Reports of the Gold-fields Commis- 
sioner—The" Gold-fields tit Victoria peculiarly unsuited to the Ama- 
teur Digger— Mushrooms not the Produce of Sheep Ordure . . 197 


The unwritten Laws of the Diggings— A brief Outlines-Shepherds-^ 
Shioers and Crown Jewels — The most watchful Shepherds sometimes 
outwitted— An Illustration or Ground Section of a Digger's Shafts 
Ixemplar Shaft — Mode of Working— Danger from slovenly Slabbing 


—From fool Air — My fearful State while exploring a Drive — An 
auriferous Head of Hair— Diggers of the early contrasted with those 

of the present Day — An unlucky Party — Mr. M'C n's Claim — 

Singular Phenomenon — Obscurity of its Origin — Scene of a melan- 
choly Tragedy — Kind Feeling of the Populace — The Jewellers 1 Shops 
— The Blacksmith's Claim — Its unparalleled Richness — The aggre- 
gate Yield 55,200?.— The Dalgleish Claim— The Waldridge Claim 
— Extraordinary Tield from a Tub at the Gravel-pit — The Red 
Hill Lead— A Symposiac at Ballarat — The Scene animate and inani- 
mate — Its Conclusion— Cause of the Surface Nakedness of Ballarat 211 


Little Bendigo— The Women there — Juvenile Fossickers — Adventure 
with them — The Eureka — Kangaroo Hunt over Digging-holes — 
Supper Fare in Mr. B— r's Store — Dialogues between the Cus- 
tomers — Tea versus Coffee — Two Prospectors from Mount Korong— 
Their Account of the Locality— The Field for Monster Nuggets- 
Try the Tailings — Describe Puddling and Cradling — Demonstrate 
the Necessity of using Quicksilver and Circular-bottomed Cradles- 
Sporting Excursion — The different Sorts of Game — A real Kangaroo 
Hunt— Their Saltatory Powers— Uses of their Tail— The Echoes of 
Victoria — A Scene of Sylvan Laughter — Docility of Victorian Birds 
and Animals — Robbery — Creswick's Creek — The Style of Living in 
that Field — Double Uses of Double Guns — Sound your Accordions 
— Return to Ballarat — Scene on Bakery Hill — Public Meeting- 
Studied Oratory not popular amongst Diggers — The Effect of honest 
spontaneous Earnestness — Letter from Town — Obliged to return and 
postpone my Diggings Tour 232 


Down Journey from Ballarat — Whole Country under Water — A Legion 
of Chinese — Primitive Colloquy — Watson's — My Sleeping Partners 
— Their former Pursuits — My Escape through the Window — Dan- 
gerous Position outside — Comical Mode of Collecting the Bed-tax— 
Reach Geelong — Scenes on the Trip to Melbourne — Crowded State 
of the Yarra-Yarra and the Wharfs — Monomania of British Ex- 
porters—Effects in the Melbourne Markets — Imports from all quarters 
of the Globe in the Teeth of adverse Advice — Professional Men 
inoculated with the Trading Mania — The Crowds of Commission 
Agents — How they carried on the War — Slight Revolution in the 
Aspect of Melbourne and its People during my Absence — Visit Pro- 
fessor Sands — His Theory about the Prevalence of Fires in Melbourne 
—His Notions concerning American Bouncing and Filibustering— 
Rates of Tradesmen's and Labourers' Wages . . . . . 255 




Rejoin the W— ds on Emerald Hill— The new Inhabitant* of that 
Quarter — Bird-cage Walk under Decoration — Improvement of the 
Hill — Contract a Dislike for promiscuous Society — Select an isolated 
Residence — The Brass-band Invasion — Their immense Earnings— 
Progress of Municipal and Social Improvement — Immense Importa- 
tion of old-fashioned Carriages — Yankee Speculation in that Line 
successful — Communication with the Interior in those Days — Fast 
Travelling established by T — d — n H — d — s, and not by American 
Enterprise — The Digger and Cyprian Effrontery gives Way before 
the advancing Tide of Refinement — Religious Intolerance, Cant, and 
Hypocrisy — Its Mode of Operation and its Effects — Consequences of 
Missionary Officiousness in the Sandwich Islands — The old and new 
City Burial-grounds — Causes of excessive Mortality explained— 
Mortality amongst Children accounted for— Extract from the Quar- 
terly Medical Journal — Commentary on the Extracts — Climate of 
Victoria is undergoing an agreeable Change— The Cause and Effect 
— Influence of the Climate, especially on Married Ladies . . 272 


Introduce Pise' Building — Its Cheapness and Utility — Popular Cu- 
riosity and Satisfaction— Hot Winds— Black Thursday— The Dust 
Nuisance — Its insinuating Character — Futility of attempting to 
keep it under by Water-carts in Melbourne — Signs of the Times — 
Public Balls— The Mayor's Fancy-dress Ball— The Mongrel Dresses 
— The departing Scene— Effect on the Pastry Trade— Mistakes of 
the Conductors — Losses of Wearing Apparel — The Queen's Arcade 
—The opening Ball there — Beauty of Melbourne Women — The 
Arcade a partial Failure — A Description of the Concern — The 
Antipodean TattersalTs described— The Curiosity it engendered— 
Curious Speculations — Charity an Exotic in the British Isles and 
Colonies — Magnificent Ball at the Tattersall Establishment— An 
utter Failure as a profitable Speculation — An overground Edition of 
the Thames Tunnel — A Peep at the Ball on Emerald Hill— Ame- 
nities of the Ball-room— Sad Reverses in Bird-cage Walk . 295 


The new Residence — The Menage — Our Doctor Neighbour — His Sign- 
board—The Fate of my Pise' Speculation — Cast about for a new 
Caning— American Merchants and Yankee Notions — Sour Flour- 
Tombstones— Down East Champagne— Dangers attending American 
Champagne— Speculate in a Lot of unredeemed Passengers' Luggage 
—Good Fortune— Trade with a German Jew — His Grievous Disap- 
pointment — His Torture — His ingenious Device*— Watches of that 
Day in Victoria— The Union Hotel started— The Style of Manage- 


ment — The Triumph of the French Cuisine — Immense Income — 

The Drawbacks — The main Cause of its Failure — Jealousy of Old 

Chum Bank Directors — Irish Jews the worst of the Species — The 

Criterion Hotel — Its elaborate Finish in every Department — Great 

Gymnastic Skill of its Barmen — Its numerous Appurtenances — The 

Mode of Living there — A Digger's Apostrophe to a would-be Swell 

— The 4th of July at the Criterion — Yankee Orators — Poets and 

Speechifiers — Criterion goes down as the American Tide goes out — 

The Rush to Peru 816 


Our House and our Neighbours — The Fly Nuisance — Its Disagreea- 
bilitfes in Private and Public— In City and Diggings — Its decrease 
— Politics and the chief Actors — Orange and Green— The tlouncil 
Chamber — The Squatters and their preposterous Demands — The 
natural CoT»e^etfces*— The Ministry and the Opposition — A few 
rough Personal Sketches— The New Constitution— Extraordinary 
Agitation in th« Gold-fields — Contrast in the Towns and Cities — 
Extreme Regularity of Night Fires— That of Mr. C— ss— 's in Flin- 
derVlane — Overflowing Attendance— Free Discussions on the Cause 
— Calculations on the Result — Professor Sands' perspicuous Remark 
— Turn my Attention to an entirely new Project — Its Nature- 
Approved by the Chamber of Commerce — How it was treated by 
the Committee of Adjudication — Their Decision anticipated— The 
scandalous Conduct explained and accounted for — A fresh Version 
of the* Old Chiuh Jealousy — A Ship-canal from Melbourne to the 
Bay still wanting —"Would be a most lucrative Project . . . 337 


The Trial— Itafd Swearing— Gre"at Sweating— Preponderance of Irish 
Barristers— fay Drivfe to Kilmore— Endurance of Colonial Horses 
as compared with Home onei— Suggestions on the Subject — Recog- 
nised by ah ottld Acquaintance— Number df Irisn in the Neigh- 
bourhood — How accounted for— Extract froni the feeport of the 
Colonial Land and Emigration Commissioners — Magnificent Testi- 
mony to noble Attributes of the Celtic Character — The Remittance 
System growing up rapidly in Australia — Distinctive Instincts of 
the English, Scotch, and Irish — Carty's Account of the improved 
Style of Irish Cultrvatib'n about fclmore— He disproves {he olden 
Allegation of Irish Indolence and Vice— Cause of the early Pro- 
gress of the Kilmore District-^-A Programme for the Guidance or* 
new Settlers hi the Country Districts — A Register showing the 
proper Seasons for sdwing and planting the different Descriptions 
of Farm and Garden Produce — Remarks on the Farm-yard and 
Dairy— Interesting Extract from Facts and Figures — Remarks about 
the past and present Prices of Land — A Paragraph on the present 
and future Prospects of Agricultural Operations .... 360 



Physical Effects of Wild Travel — A strange Ship's Crew — Curious Con- 
ditions of Passage — Leave San Francisco for the Sandwich Islands — A 
natural Picture — A dilapidated Digger — A Glance at his Life — His 
Ideas regarding Port Phillip — His Advice to go there — I leave him at 
Honolulu — Hear of the Australian Discoveries on reaching England — 
Determine on going there — My Start — Deal Boats and Boatmen — 
Curious Errand — Scene in Margate Roads — Gales in the Channel — 
"Cheer, Boys, cheer"— Madeira — Trinidad — Martin Bass Rocks — Water- 
spout — Cape De Verds — Butter in the Tropics — Ship's Yarn — Scenes on 
the Line — Alarming Thunder-storm — Moral and Religious Reflections — 
Reasons for diverging to the Cape of Good Hope. 

In the year 1850, crippled from the effects of my excur- 
sion across the Eocky Mountains and the great Sierra 
Nevada, and suffering from land scurvy after a severe 
winter's exposure in the northern diggings of California, I 
was advised to try a sojourn in those emerald gems of the 
Pacific the Sandwich Islands, where fruits, vegetables, and 
goats' milk overabound. At that period there was a diffi- 
culty in obtaining a passage, as the trade between California 
and the insular dominions of King Kamehamea was insigni- 
ficant ; but an opportunity at length presented itself. A 
barque was advertised for Manilla, touching at Honolulu to 

VOL. I. B 


complete her crew, in which I secured a berth, but on con- 
dition that I would keep my regular watch, take my turn 
at the wheel, and make myself generally useful on deck and 
below, as I was not then in a state of body to go aloft. 

The barque's crew consisted of the captain, an energetic, 
clever fellow ; a lad in the capacity of first officer, who was 
a runaway midshipman (as I understood) from Messrs. 
Green's employ; three men who shipped as able seamen, 
but who never hove a lead in their lives ; an old sea cook 
who came out in the vessel, and continued to live the life of 
a recluse aboard her in Francisco Bay for eighteen months ; 
and a smart French garcon, who undertook the duties of 
steward and pastrycook — rather a scant complement for a 
barque registering 550 tons. But the charterers hired a 
gang of boatmen to heave up the anchor and make sail, who 
helped us to work the vessel through the tangled fleet of 
ships that was then spread over the broad bosom of San 
Francisco harbour. The moment, however, we emerged 
from the portals of the Golden Gate those worthies slipped 
over the side, wishing us a pleasant voyage in a tone of irony 
which seemed to insinuate that its duration would be much 
longer than agreeable, regarding us at the same time with a 
look amounting to pity at our infatuation in leaving a country 
which then seemed to be the goal of the whole human race. 

As we glided before the land breeze fairly out to sea, the 
smooth rounded swells of the Pacific rose and sank with a 
placid uniformity as if they were the mighty pulsations of 
the universe, while the bold, stern outline of coast range 
mountains from which we were insensibly receding, and the 
gorgeous bath of crimson ether into which the sun was 
luxuriously sinking in the western horizon, presented a 
scene of sublimity and grandeur that inspired feelings of 
intuitive untaught adoration for the glories of Omnipotence. 


While gloating oyer this great natural picture, the vessel, 
from want of wind to steady her, rolled lazily about in a 
manner not at all calculated to repress nausea in constitu- 
tions haying any tendency in that direction, and the appear- 
ance of a pallid stranger languidly emerging from the com- 
panion suggested the idea that the ship herself, uneasy in the 
Lmal^wTssendingupherbile. The stranger was a passen- 
ger like myself, a martyr to the gold mania, going in search 
of his squandered health to the volcanic islets of the tropics, 
under conditions of servitude during the voyage as well as 
myself, and in that querulous temper generally attendant on 
infirmity, particularly when associated with disappointment. 
He had taken up his quarters on board for some days in 
consequence of the dearness and discomfort of Francisco 
hotels in those days, and being familiar with the nature of 
the preparations and the characteristics of our companions, 
he expressed a desire to be of my watch, feeling, I should 
think, from being brought up in the same sphere of life, and 
being imbued with a truant disposition of a somewhat 
similar ardour, that reciprocal sympathy would grow up be* 
twixt us, and that we could compare notes and communicate 

I was enabled to make arrangements in conformity with 
his wishes, and on our first watch that night— clear, bright, 
and beautiful as summer nights are in the regions of the 

Pacific — John I g B d sat on the latticed stage on 

which I stood at the wheel to tell me his history, as if it 
would be a relief to disburden himself of his story, or, more 
probably, perhaps, to extract some ministerings of sympathy 
for his temptations and disappointments. His juvenile Lon- 
don indiscretions, or his more mature extravagances, I will 
pass over, with the remark that they constrained him to 



emigrate to South Australia, where he first settled down 
in the capacity of a squatter. At a subsequent period of 
his career he associated himself with a few enterprising in- 
dividuals, who, hearing of the extent and fertility of the new 
settlement of Port Phillip, resolved on paying it a visit, to 
determine with their own eyes and judgments whether it 
was a district deserving of its fame, or one holding out 
greater advantages than their own colony. 

He told me of their journeyings and explorations, dilating 
with rapture on the splendid park-like aspect of the country, 
on the broad expanses of verdant plains, rich with nutritious 
herbage, suitable alike for sheep or cattle, and on the many 
picturesque romantic districts which seemed to be created 
as the sites of happy homes, where existence alone would be 
an enjoyment. He dwelt with the fondness of enthusiasm 
on the beauties of the vale of the Yarra-Yarra, with its deep 
and tortuous river, hemmed in by mountain banks, clothed 
with blossoming evergreens, or winding its fertilising course 
through broad meadows of deep alluvial deposit, tracing it 
down to where its waters lave the feet of the infant city of 
Melbourne, where he said he speculated in suburban allot- 
ments, from which he looked forward to realise very large 
profits. He stated he had commenced making arrangements 
for removing permanently from South Australia to the Port 
Phillip district when the Californian gold discoveries took 
place, but the mania consequent thereon overturned all his 
plans, and instead of transporting his flocks to the new 
settlement, he transmuted them into merchandise, shaping 
his course for the new El Dorado, where he arrived at an in- 
auspicious time, scarcely realising more than paid freight 
and charges on this venture. He then tried the diggings, 
where his health dwindled away with the small residue of 
his capital ; and, as a final move, he determined on allowing 


his shattered existence to ebb out amidst the balmy groves 
of the Sandwich Islands. On subsequent evenings he fre- 
quently indulged in outpourings of self-reproach at his weak- 
ness in being allured from his well-digested project of emi- 
gration by the lust of sudden acquisition ; and many, many 
times he exhorted me, with the fervour of an affectionate 
brother, to realise all my effects in the old country, and 
make Australia Felix my adopted home. 

I remained in companionship with him in the neighbour- 
hood of Honolulu for three months, and left him established 
in a pretty humble home, rearing fowl and raising .vegetables, 
which produced a comfortable competence from the very 
high price paid for them by whalers frequenting that port, 
but I carried away with me a strong desire of visiting the 
young colony which he delighted to portray in such alluring 
colours, and that desire resolved itself into determination, 
when, on reaching England at the close of the following 
year, I found the first instalments of the maiden treasures of 
Mount Alexander and Ballarat exciting the public mind 
with the most exaggerated schemes and expectations. 

Once resolved, I quickly set about my simple preparations, 
selecting London for my port of departure, as I would 
strongly advise all respectable voyageurs to do who can 
appreciate comfort, decency, and discipline. This advice I 
offer not only as the result of my own personal experience, 
but as that of all travellers whom I have heard express 
opinions on the subject. Amidst the embarrassing variety 
of vessels on the berth for Port Phillip in the autumn of 
1852, 1 pitched upon a robust, seaworthy-looking Danish 
ship, attracted as well by her extreme cleanliness as by a 
notification on her poop-rail " that she would only take six 
cabin passengers," being confirmed in an early opinion 
during my eccentric ramblings, that matters would go on 


much more comfortably and smoothly on board ship if all 
vessels we*e [confined to one class of passengers, without 
any distinctions whatever. Ear, if we are haunted with 
heartburnings, and envies, and jealousies in the wide, wide 
world, where there is so much room to avoid and escape 
them, how much more must not those feelings be embittered 
in floating prisons, where the causes are brought every 
minute of the day, as it were, tinder our noses, with cuddy 
passengers pompously exalted on the poop or quarter-deck, 
in constant presence of the humbler second cabin passengers, 
who are again invidiously separated from those in the steer- 
age by a notice warning the canaille " not to walk abaft the 

Of the six passengers one was my brother, another an 
agreeable and accomplished old friend of the long robe, and 
the other three of a congenial stamp, so that the programme 
of our daily arrangements for the voyage was drawn up and 
concluded in a. spirit of mutual accommodation. The owner, 
too, acted in a spirit of genuine liberality as to our stores, 
and assigned us a cook and steward to act specially under 
our own orders ; but at Gravesend, where we joined the 
ship, we experienced a formidable drawback to our pleasing 
anticipations on finding the crew stowing away ten tons of 
gunpowder under the main-hatch, which, the pilot remarked, 
" was just in the proper position to render strict justice to 
all, in having our ashes equably scattered by the south-east 
trades should we get entangled in the meshes of the tropical 
chain lightning" — a circumstance quite within the range of 
probability, seeing that the ship was not provided with con* 

In Margate Beads we encountered our second contretemps, 
being pinned to the ground for five days, in the midst of a 
large fleet, by an adverse wind, which increased into a whole 


gale for the last twenty-four hours. But while we all 
strained and groaned at our anchors as if clinging to our 
only hope of salvation from the Goodwin Sands, those won* 
drous oaf fc the Deal boats flitted about like stormy petrels, 
seeming to revel in the conflict of the elements ; and late in 
the last dark night, when the hurricane was raging at the 
top of its fury, an oilskin apparition arose in the rattlings 
before any of the watch were aware that a boat was along- 
side. This turned out to be a Deal boatman come to inquire 
if we were a passenger short, as he had a drunken man in 
his forecastle who had paid his passage and shipped Ins 
luggage, containing fifteen hundred sovereigns, but he lost 
his purse containing the receipt, and forgot the name of the 
ship. Being informed that the man was not of our party, 
he remarked, " It's damned hard oa my crew, for we've been 
a cruisin 9 all night among the fleet, and our customer has 
not got a blessed mag to pay us for our trouble ; but it will 
be no end of a buster to himself, for there's sure to be 
a nor'-east wind afore morning, when all you out'ard- 
bounders will be up anchor an* away. Would any of you 
gemmen like this evening's Sun or Globe, the last noose* 
paper you*ll see this side of the line P an 1 if you have any 
letters for the old folk at home, Til take 'em ashore and post 
'em all right." 

Rue enough, the wind shifted as the dawn approached, 
and daylight revealed a scene such as can only be witnessed at 
the mouth of the Thames under like circumstances. It was an 
eager strife between the crews of two hundred vessels to see 
which could be got under weigh first, and I believe if the suc- 
cessful captain was to receive a prize of 1O0OZ., and his officers 
and erew a shower of Victoria crosses, it could not have been 
more keenly contested, nor the spirit and skill of the British 
tar more excitingly demonstrated. But the most consum- 


mate address could not carry all clear with so numerous a 
fleet, and so circumscribed a pool for manoeuvring. There 
were many innocuous foldings and collisions, which, however, 
led to such fierce denunciations and threatenings from the 
various skippers and pilots, that an unsophisticated spectator 
would have imagined a bloody sea-fight had commenced, in 
which no quarter would be either given or accepted, for those 
in fault were to the full as loud, and apparently as angry, as 
the most blameless, both reciprocally devoting each other, 
without any purgatorial compromise, to monosyllabic torture. 
Our burly pilot helped to swell the chorus with his deep- 
mouthed objurgations, while our captain and his officer 
jabbered away frantically in the unknown tongue as a great 
pudgy brig, after failing to fill on her proper tack, came 
broadside down upon us as we were paying away beautifully 
on our course, impaling her standing rigging on our jib-boom. 
Her crew, as is usual in such cases, tore madly up the rat- 
tlings to snap our spar in two like a rotten carrot, while 
at the same time our lads rushed out each side on the bridle 
to pluck out her masts by the root, and shove them ashore 
for firewood; however, this alarming-looking affray termi- 
nated in the severing of a few of our ropes and a slight 
crush on the bulwarks of the brig, and by the time we got 
clear of each other every vessel in the fleet was fairly full, 
standing away down Channel under a fine whole-sail breeze. 
This was on the 18th of December, 1852, a morning almost 
too lovely for the season, for the sun emerged at breakfast- 
time with a richness and warmth altogether unusual at the 
decline of the year. As our ship was a capital sailer, we 
kept gradually creeping through the crowd, frequently passing 
vessels bristling thickly with emigrants, all seemingly bound 
to the same land, for whenever we came right abeam of any of 
them we were invariably saluted with a boisterous broadside 


of "Australy for ever !" which they as invariably followed up- 
as if by the special injunction of the emigration agent — with 
a monster concert, haying for its staple Henry BusselTs great 
non sequitwr song, commencing, 

Cheer, boys, cheer, for home and mother country, 

and concluding with an overtopping encomium on 

The new and happy land. 

I once caught the soft tones of a tremulous whistle carrying 
the tender burden of the " Girl I left behind me," which 
emanated from a frieze-coated group, who were leaning over 
the bulwarks of a clipper barque, gazing fixedly on the water, 
and perhaps contributing warm drops of brine to the ocean 
highway ; and I well remember that the last cargo of hopeful 
exiles we passed superadded to their " Cheer, boys, cheer," 
the fine national melody of " Auld Lang Syne," which was 
chanted in stentorian style by a clan of Scotch-bonneted folk 
who stood upon the top-gallant forecastle of a noble ship, 
and imparted a truly dramatic effect to this heart-stirring 
song at the line "And here's a hand my trusty freen'," by 
grasping each other's hands with an energy which became 
electrically infectious all over the vessel, leading to a grand 
manual union from stem to stern. 

The same evening we sighted St. Catherine's light, and 
commenced manufacturing a mull of claret as a sacrifice to 
the Fates, in the full expectation of a safe and speedy voyage ; 
but before it was fully prepared the wind veered round to 
the west, and there, with trifling variations, it hung for 
thirteen days, blowing great guns, and attended with such 
thick weather, that I believe we only got the sun twice 
in the entire period, during which we were compelled to grope 
our way with the leads, narrowly escaping several collisions, 


and when at length a favourable slant set in, we found by 
observation that the Scilly Isles were in dangerous con- 
tiguity. Bat a bright morning and a fair wind soon car- 
ried us clear of harm's way, causing us to forget the perilous 
buffeting of the English Channel; and right gloriously 
for days did our gallant ship tear onward on her course 
across the grossly traduced waters of the Bay of Biscay, past 
the latitude of Cape Finisterre, and amongst those tiny 
nautical fabrics of natural construction yclept Portuguese 

On the morning of the 11th of January the high land of 
Madeira was sighted dead ahead, when our captain oblige 
ingiy shaped his course so as to give us a good opportunity 
of observing that picturesque island, with its abrupt cliffs, 
its deep ravines, and steep, tortuous roads. We were enabled 
distinctly to discern the trim vineyards in their regular ter- 
races, and could trace the streets and gardens of a neat 
village, with its pretty whitewashed church seated on the 
crowning table-land. 

The next land we made was Trinidad, a high, rocky, bald 
island, on which we could see crowds of pigs and goats, and 
only that the surf was so high, we would have gone ashore to 
augment our stock of fresh provisions. We also sailed close 
by the Martin Bass rocks, which rise precipitously from the 
ocean in tall, naked deformity, without the slightest clothing 
of vegetation, and totally devoid of any resource likely 
to tempt man to dispute the sovereignty with its fea- 
thered occupants. In this neighbourhood we were favoured 
with the appearance of a waterspout, whose gyrations at one 
time tended exactly in our direction, but it fell to pieces 
before it approximated too closely to beget any apprehension. 

Soon after, we got amongst the Cape de Yerds cluster in 
singeing weather, which broke the seal of torpidity with the 


cockroaches, and Tendered our butter into a rancid fluid only 
capable of being utilised with a brush. We tried jam as a 
substitute, but it was only a trial ; for of all earthly pre- 
serves, preserve me, I say, from ship's jam, which is a tough, 
glutinous compound, resembling candied molasses stiffened 
with pitch, and flavoured by some occult process with a rasp* 
berry, strawberry, or currant smack, without imparting the 
slightest debris of the fruit. By dipping the point of a finger 
in it and running to the end of the ship you will have manu- 
factured a tough cord capable of bearing a considerable 
strain, ami I have not the slightest doubt but that a coating 
of it on the boom end would catch an albatross. 

The Cape de Verds have a haggard, half-roasted look, with- 
out a single feature of that fresh, pouting expression to 
captivate a passer-by, peculiar to the seductive ieknd paradises 
in the tropical regions of the Pacific. Sal is high and rugged, 
only peopled in consideration of its salt trade, which is 
earned on by evaporation. Bommsta is also high and 
jagged, but, as well as we eould scan its configuration, it has 
deep rugged valleys, and some insignificant tracts of parched 
level land. St. Jago is the seat of government, and at some 
future day, from its position, may become a coaling station 
for ocean steamers in the Australian trade ; but there is no 
intrinsic attractions in this high-toasted group to beget either 
an etnigratianal or filibustering invasion. 

Our next stage was the great terrestrial griddle, on which 
we were hung up to dry in a roasting calm for nine days, with 
a vessel on our starboard beam, barely discernible at first 
from the maintop, but, as if from the powers of mutual at- 
traction, we so approximated on the sixth day as to see 
plainly crowds on her poop and top-gallant forecastle; and 
as a compensation for the abnegation of any courtly inter- 
changes with Neptune, our captain had a boat lowered, and 


gave us a crew to visit our marine neighbours. Our inten- 
tions, which were soon descried, were greeted with a faint 
cheer, which reached us in a spent shape ; but when we got 
fairly within hailing distance, as if Hullah was in the main- 
top with his baton, five hundred and sixty-seven voices burst 
forth with the precision of a bomb, bellowing forth — what do 
you suppose ? — why, none other than the celebrated " Cheer, 
boys, cheer, for home and mother country," on which they 
were so complacently turning their backs of their own free 
will and accord. We were treated with great hospitality, and 
got eighteen days' later news from England ; but the stifling 
atmosphere in the cabins, caused by the animal heat and 
exhalations of this mass of human beings sweltering in the 
very furnace of the torrid zone, obliged us to forego the 
many warm invitations that were pressed upon us to spend 
the night. 

As we gave way, on our return to our own wooden home, 
which looked like a great marine excrescence fixed and 
motionless in the deep, we elicited another vehement salvo 
of "Cheer, boys, cheer;" but there was a salvo of another 
description evidently impending, which caused us to pull 
with a will. The sky became ominously overcast with opaque, 
bobstery-looking masses pregnant with electricity, the air at 
the same time getting stagnant and unbreathable, while big 
blobs of rain plashed about irregularly, as if dripping from 
leaky clouds. As we got on board, a muffled rumbling com- 
menced deep in the womb of tha heavens, and the volumes 
of black vapour opened in lurid seams, emitting javelin 
flights of forked lightning, followed by crashing peals of 
thunder that seemed to explode close over our heads, rocking 
the masts in their sockets, and shivering the polished surface 
of the sea like water in a glass globe whose pedestal has re- 
ceived a violent concussion. 



For fully three hours this grand but awful spectacle 
was continuously sustained : fiery serpents darted through 
the rigging, thunder-claps brattled about our ears, the 
tapering topmasts of the ship being capped by electric 
clouds, while her hold contained enough of gunpowder 
to blow St. Paul's into fragments. It was just such a 
sort of conjuncture as my most fervent aspirations de- 
sire to avoid for evermore ; and although we all affected 
composure, it was nothing better than the most arrant 
hypocrisy, for I am not credulous enough to give any man 
credit for real tranquillity, however well he may assume it, 
while closeted with a pair of wild sparks fencing with red-hot 
pokers across a well-aired keg of powder, even though he 
knew they meant no mischief. I can candidly answer for 
myself, that, being in utter ignorance of the designs of Provi- 
dence on the occasion in question, I was decidedly uncom- 
fortable, and felt nervous twitchings and misgivings about 
being served out there and then for my numerous pecca- 

After this terrific turmoil we caught a nice leading wind 
that carried us into the southern trades, but as several of our 
water-butts had been stove in the English Channel, the 
captain talked of touching at Tristan d'Acunha. The first 
officer, however, gave us a hint that he would be easily over- 
persuaded to call at the Cape in preference, as he had a 
Dulcinea there, whose former scruples would most likely 
vanish on seeing him in command. It was rather amusing 
to observe the manner in which he received the first sugges- 
tion, and the way in which he disposed of the difficulties that 
he himself started, backing and filling, as the sailors say, 
before he gave his final assent ; but when once our course 
was changed, it became quite evident he was steering by a 
compass of natural construction. 

14 ijfe nr yictobia. 


Sight Table Mountain — Extraordinary Optical Illusion on entering Table 
Bay — Cape Town and Neighbourhood-— Society there — Trade — Country 
Excursion — Yisit Scyoli, the captive Caffre Chief, at Wynebergh— «• 
Leave the Cape of Good Hope — Great Excitement at Sea — An Expedi- 
tion — Its Result — Our Consolation — Sight St. Paul's and Amsterdam — 
Description of those Islets — Make Cape Otway Light — Scene on entering 
Port Phillip Heads— Shipwreck of the Sacramento — Port Phillip in 1799 
and in 1853 — Mrs. Hartley's Letter of the former Date — Appearance of 
the Heads — Williamstown— Sandridge — Shore Scenery— Shore Canvass- 
ers — Our Passage contrasted with the first Voyage of the Marco Polo— 
The past Style of Navigation and the present. 

Wa sighted Table Mountain after breakfast on the 13th of 
March, and, with a fine free wind aU day, got abreast of the 
Lion's Bump early in the evening, when it immediately fell 
dead calm. We had thus a good opportunity of surveying 
the fine bold scenery around the northern and western base 
of this isolated mountain, and the numerous lovely marine 
residences skirting the shore all away round Greenpoint, 
which constitutes the headland of Table Bay. Being anxious 
to land, we hailed several fishing-boats, but none approached, 
and as there was not an air of wind stirring, we made 
up our minds to remain aboard all night. As the dark- 
ness settled down, a most strange— to us, but not un- 
usual — phenomenon met our eyes. The entire sea, en- 


circling the ship as for as we could see, became, as it were, 
■nddenly transmuted into a white milky lake, illuminated to 
a considerable depth by phosphorescent matter, which en- 
abled ns to see with the most marvellous distinctness the 
myriads of fish, of different size and specie moving slowly in 
shoals, or sometimes darting in pursuit of each other. Never 
having previously heard or read of such a spectacle, it struck 
us with corresponding amazement to witness so instan- 
taneous- and opposite a change in the dark blue waters of 
the deep, and to see its denizens moving about through it as 
if unconscious of any change whatsoever. In observations 
made by Mr. Langstaff in a voyage from Fort Jackson to 
China, he says : " About half an hour after sunset the sea 
suddenly changed to a milky appearance, and the ship seemed 
to be surrounded with ice covered with snow. A bucket of 
water was hauled up and examined in the dark; a great 
number of globular bodies were discovered in it, each about 
the size of a pin's head, linked together ; the chains thus 
formed did not exceed three inches in length, and emitted a 
pale phosphoric light. This extraordinary appearance of the 
sea was visible two nights, but as soon as the moon exerted 
her influence, the sea resumed its natural dark colour, but 
exhibited distinct glittering spots even then." The pheno- 
menon in our case assumed quite a different phase as to the 
transparency of the waters, and I only regret that we did 
not get a bucket of it on deck, though I believe at the time 
we would have hesitated doing so, lest it should have the 
effect of breaking the seeming enchantment. About mid- 
night a light northerly wind enabled us to come to an 
anchorage in Table Bay, where we could see there were 
several ships. 

In the morning we were astir early, but there was a dense 
fog, from the tinge of which we were conscious that the sun 


was blazing out above its bank. Strange to say, as the morn- 
ing advanced, instead of being evaporated and dispelled, the 
fog became more and more depressed and thickened, the pro- 
cess continuing slowly, until we could see the topmasts of 
the ships about us peeping up as through a thick horizontal 
screen ; next, the bold brow of Table Mountain arose as if 
by machinery ; then by slow degrees all the higher shore ob- 
jects became successively disclosed, until finally the city 
of Cape Town was gradually revealed, like a beautiful pano- 
rama. I never remember having so intensely revelled in the 
enjoyment of spectacular gormandisement as on that occa- 
sion, nor is there, perhaps, in the wide world a town more 
grandly or picturesquely situated. We all got our go-ashore 
toggery rigged, but the captain was the over-topping swell 
of the party, " and we knew the reason why." He picked 
a crew of his comeliest boys, had some ship's colours spread 
in the stern-sheets, and then we gave way for the shore with 
becoming pomp and pageantry. The town, though substan- 
tially built, well laid out, and containing fine houses, gay 
shops, and really grand stores, was parched, dusty, and 
glaring. The steep hanging slopes around it, though smooth 
and verdant-looking at a distance, were only coated with a 
coarse tufty herbage, that was anything but agreeable on 
close inspection. The grand, bold, frowning mountain at the 
back alone maintained its morning place in our estimation. 
The streets are regular, the roadways and trottoirs are kept 
in excellent order, the buildings are substantial, the shops 
attractive, and the warehouses extensive. But there is no stir 
amongst the regular inhabitants; the numerous periodical 
visitors, with their trains of servants, from the Indian pro- 
vinces alone contribute to maintain a sort of languid anima- 
tion in the place. Business there crawls instead of bustles, 
and so unaccustomed do shopkeepers appear to be to active 


trade, that when you enter their premises they almost regard 
you as an intruder, never asking you " if they can serve you," 
and if they happen not to have the article for which you in- 
quire, they turn their backs rudely, and " can't say where you 
were likely to get it." In fact, it appears enigmatical to me 
how merchants and shopkeepers there can afford to keep their 
great stores, their large staff of hands, their immense stocks, 
and their handsome country houses. There is little or no 
society save that exotic sort introduced by the families of 
Indian officers and civilians on leave. There are no places 
of public amusement, and the only place of public resort 
I could discover was the Botanic Gardens, which are cre- 
ditably kept. The invention of clipper ships and the esta- 
blishment of the Peninsular and Oriental Company have 
seriously injured Cape Town, as the former rarely call 
either on their out or home voyages, while the wealthy pas- 
sengers who would spend money when ashore now invariably 
go the overland route, and as Indian officers on leave can 
enjoy the advantage of full pay while on leave in the Aus- 
tralian colonies as well as at the Cape, it is probable, now 
that there is a steam connexion between them and India, 
that they will command a preference. I rode out in an 
excellently appointed omnibus, most skilfully driven by a 
Hottentot Jehu, along the beach road by Oreenpoint to the 
Lion's Bump, the fashionable suburban quarter. The houses 
there were well got up and handsomely furnished, but the 
grounds and gardens were invariably arid and neglected. 
On my return, I visited the meat market, in order to pur- 
chase a beef to present to the crew, and although there 
were nearly one hundred carcases to choose between, the 
best was only fit for a soup-kitchen ; they looked as if they 
had been all working bullocks that dragged waggons down 
from the interior, where the tsets6 fly had sucked out all their 
vol. i. o 


blood and substance before starting. The sheep were only 
a degree better, appearing to accumulate all the condition on 
their tails. Even the fowls were a gaunt, stilly, long-legged 
tribe, with muscular thighs, but without embonpoint ; and 
as for the fish, I wouldn't keep* a strict Lent in the colony 
for a pope's tiara. However, the fruit and vegetables went 
far to redeem these drawbacks. They were worthy of 
Covent-garden market, especially the grapes, every bunch 
of which was a hand-load, and every fruit a mouthful. 

Of course we made arrangements to visit Oonstantia, 
taking Wynebergh on the way. It is a beautiful drive, 
through a highly improved country, over a capital macadam- 
ised road. At Wynebergh we had a most delicious repaBt 
on grapes and melons, after which we went to visit the cap- 
tive Oaflre chief Seyoli, who is devoid of any outward indica- 
tions of decided character to distinguish him from the common 
herd of savages, and without any of that bearing of natural 
dignity so frequently met with in barbarian chieftains, for 
on offering him a packet of tobacco, he snatched it just in tie 
same style that a baboon in a cage would clutch at a walnut. 
We were prevented from proceeding to Oonstantia by a 
violent upset caused by the breaking of our axle, and on our 
return to town, after a twelve miles' walk, we found the 
captain awaiting our arrival to take us on board, as all the 
fresh stoats had been shipped, and a fair wind was blowing. 

Three days after leaving the Gape, on the approach of 
evening,* man in the foretop sang oat something in Danish, 
which caused the first officer to go aloft, and sifter peering 
intently in a south-eastern direction for some moments, he 
came down, and made a cooimnnicafcion at head-quarters, 
whereupon the captain, ghas in hand (eye-glass), mounted 
the mam rigging, fie, in turn, made some observation in 
the Norse dialect, and looked again 3 and as X felt curious to 


ascertain what the object was, I went up so far as the main 
truck, where the captain joined me, directing my attention 
to what looked like a water-logged dismasted ship, or a raft. 
I immediately took hold of the glass, and had a steady, 
earnest look, when I clearly discerned living beings on the 
wrec&, and two or three times Baw white objects moving, 
which I set down as signals of distress. We both descended 
quickly to consult what was to be done, and, of course, it 
was unanimously resolved to afford succour. The ship was, 
therefore, put about instantly, in expectation of fetching the 
wreck in the next stretch, and the boat in the stern was 
made all ready for lowering. AH were animated with one 
desire, and never were the winds more earnestly supplicated 
for favour than on that occasion. On a signal from the 
mate, who stationed himself in the foretop, the vessel was 
again hove in stays, but as she came slowly round to the 
wind, it was evident that the darkness which had been steal- 
ing Bflently over the waters interposed a serious obstacle to 
the success of our search. Like everything else in this life 
which we deprecate, it appeared to hasten and thicken. The 
mate came upon deck, feeling he could be no longer of any 
service aloft, but, in order to keep hope alive in the hearts of 
those poor beings " drifting upon a moonless sea," we fired 
several shots, and burned blue lights at short intervals, listen- 
ing eagerly for some shout or sound from the raft that would 
serve to indicate the direction in which Ifoey lay ; but all was 
silence as solemn as the darkness. The mate again went 
aloft, nut as the thick film of night was impenetrable, he re- 
turnedto the deck, joining our group upon the poop, where for 
a litfle we remained mute, all waiting for a suggestion. At 
length I proposed ifrat the Tboat should be lowered, a light 
burnt «t the mast-head, and a volunteer crew mustered to 
depart on a search-, but the captain, with as benevolent a 



desire to aid the suffering as any one on board, declined 
acceding to the plan, stating, at the same time, that he would 
have the ship hove-to until morning, and, meantime, ail 
means and measures of assistance could be concerted. It 
appeared to be a tacit understanding come to intuitively that 
there was to be a universal watch kept all night. Torpor 
was effectually kept at bay by reflection. The painful con- 
trast of our comfort and security with the horrors and 
anxieties of the poor wretches on the raft, kept our sym- 
pathies on the rack as the now lazy hours of gloom crawled 
along with most harassing tediousness. The captain had 
hasty stock taken of our supplies, with a view of determining 
whether we would be enabled to proceed to our destination 
or return to the Cape ; and as eight bells sounded we all 
went on deck, though it was still dark, determined to watch 
the first grey glimmer of morning. It was gratifying to find 
the wind moderate and the sea comparatively smooth, and in 
anticipation of the peep of dawn the boat was lowered and 
manned, and a small supply of brandy, biscuit, and water 
stowed away, the crew waiting anxiously and eagerly to give 
way the moment the finger of the mate in the maintop could 
be seen indicating the position of the raft. I never expe- 
rienced moments of greater anxiety ; and when he hailed, with 
outstretched arm pointing away to the northward, we cast 
loose the painter, and pulled round the ship's bow with 
hearts throbbing almost audibly. The captain held the tiller- 
ropes, and I stood in front of him on the look-out, while the 
men pulled with a will for about twenty minutes, when a 
something foreign quickly crossed the field of the unsteady 
glass ; but on bringing it steadily to bear, I caught sight of 
the desired object. The light above was now tolerable, but 
a thin mist hovered on the surface of the sea ; nevertheless, 
I could perceive the motion of living things through the veil. 

st. Paul's and amstebdam. 21 

I hailed at the top of my lungs, and the lads lifted from 
their seats as they sprang to their oars ; I hailed again, but 
no responsive shout echoed back the thrill of deliverance. 
The low object could now be seen with the naked eye. The 
daylight was clear. The captain, with the tiller-ropes in his 
hands, got to his feet beside me. The eyes of the men were 
fixed upon our faces as we neared it. A few boats' length 
nearer still brought us into full view the dead body of a huge 
whale covered all over with sea-fowl. It was rather a ludi- 
crous termination to so exciting an undertaking, but we 
consoled ourselves with our good intentions. 

Next day we got a good westwardly slant, which followed 
us for fifteen or sixteen days, bringing us within sight of 
St. Paul's and Amsterdam, where it calmed for about twenty- 
four hours. It is said there is one inhabitant in St. Paul's. 
There were originally two; but malicious rumour assigns 
the disappearance of one to the wicked hand of the present 
survivor. These islets are small, of volcanic origin, with hot 
springs, of a temperature sufficiently high for cooking. They 
also abound in springs of good cool water, and the shores 
swarm with fish. Horsburgh gives an instance of one ship's 
boat's crew catching five tons of striped mackerel and several 
hundred codfish, in their immediate vicinity, in a few hours ; 
and he also affirms that a whaler, during a short stay there, 
killed twelve hundred seals. There is a tolerable harbour at 
St. Paul's, and it is not improbable that, one day or other, it 
may be turned to some use or account, in connexion with 
the Australian trade. Prom thence we quickly sped before 
a strong westerly wind, until we got into the neighbourhood 
of Cape Otway, on which high headland, about seventy 
miles from the entrance to Port Phillip Bay, there is a light- 
house. After dark, on the evening of the 29th of April, we 
saw a strong light seaward, evidently on board ship, which 

22 :ura in vicuosia. 

aoon grew into a fire,, sad momentarily became larger and 
fierce*. As the wind answered, we bore down straight upon 
the burning mass, almost without a hope of reaching it in 
time to save & soul ; but we aoon had our fears relieved. It 
certainly waa a tremendous fire on board ship* differing, 
however, from a ship on fire as. much as a herae-chean«t 
differs from a chesnut hosse. It waa nothing move than the 
crew of a large whale-ship, boiling down their blabber, which 
Bathe distance* on a dark night, produced! a most aHanarag 
affeet. We now put about ship, and stood towards land 
cautiously for tw& hours, when we had the extreme* grati- 
fieatian of sighting the Cape Otway light, and then, knowing 
exaetly where we were,, we crept northward, under easy sail, 
until morning. 

The morning's sun of the 30th of April, 1853, repeated a 
scene at ones distressing and interesting. On the north 
point of the entrance, to Fort Phillip Bay, a fine new* ship, 
the Sacramento, with four hundred emigrants and a valuable 
freight of sovereigns, lay ashore on the reefs, the sea making 
a clean breach over her, and fast breaking her upL The 
poor emigrants were to be seen struggling through, the surf, 
obliged to abandon ail their little effects ; but there was. not 
any loss of life, owing to the prompt and energptic assistance 
of the pilots, whose station waa close by, and through whose 
agency the treasure was also rescued, for which they were 
awarded 7000L salvage. The wretched passengers were 
truly to be pitied,, wieeked after a prosperous voyage, and 
east destitute, but not friendless, on the shores of the leneg- 
koked-fov land of promise. They had to endure bitter suf- 
ferings and anguish of mind for some days ;. bat a> spirit of 
generous sympathy arose in Melbourne, pervading all ranks 
and classes, and a large, awn of money was subscribed to 

POM raiLEXP BAY. 28 

provide them with, necessaries, while every housekeeper in 
want of a servant, every trader in want of a storemam, every 
mechanic in want of a hand, gave a preference far the ship- 
wrecked passengers by the Sacramento, who were thns, in a 
great measure, compensated for their misfortune. 

Locking seaward from the uaibrtunate> wreck, fifteen fine 
skips, none smaller than ourselves, and soma nearly double 
the sue,, were tacking about, like a fleet a— mauviiug before 
a fortified port, and 01% waiting for the order of the ad- 
miral to* bear down and foree the entrance. They were wait- 
ing and waiting in vain for pilois r all of whom were humanely 
employed at the wreck. At length one came off, and board- 
ing the ship in tbe van, he signalised to the others to watch 
and follow his course. It wa& a fine, spirit-stirring scene to 
see all these large emigrant-laden ships filing into column 
to enter the harbour; every soul on beard tbem madly 
anxkku& to jump ashore and adopt the- land,, which, only 
fifty-three years before (two yeara from its original dis- 
covery),, was abandoned as an arid> barren, country,, too inr 
hospitable even for the rigours of a penal colony. Yes, a 
little over half a century ago, the Lady Nelson carried away 
the governor and suite,, in charge of their convict family, to 
settle on the* hanks of the Derwenty in Tasmaniav leaving 
William Buddy, a runaway prisoner, to forget hia own lan- 
guage in the jargon of the aborigines, and to remain as a 
connecting link between the Christian and that savage, until 
the enterprising Batman, in 183$, landed,, in prosecution of 
a. wild, personal project, which has led to the development of 
the richest eouatry ever linked to the British crown, and 
will most probably eventuate in the foundation of an empire 
in the southern hemisphere as mighty and aa gkciouE as 
any that has ever fiourtahed under the emMema of the Ores- 


cent or the Cross. It would be unjust and ungrateful when 
noticing the event above adverted to, to omit recording a 
passage from the letter of Mrs. Hartley, the wife of one of the 
officers of the expedition, written to her sister in England on 
the eve of her departure to Van Diemen's Land, which shows 
her just and gentle appreciation of the beauties and salubrity 
of the soil, spurned, without investigation, by those whose 
proper duty it was to have explored and examined every re- 
source before pronouncing the decree of condemnation and 
abandonment. She writes, in October, 1803, " My pen is 
not able to describe half the beauties of this delightful spot, 
where we have spent four months. Much to my mortifica- 
tion and loss, we are obliged to abandon the settlement, 
through the whim and caprice of the lieutenant-governor. 
Additional expense to the government, and loss to indi- 
viduals, will be incurred by removing to Van Diemen's Land, 
which will never suit so well. Port Phillip is my favourite, 
and has my warmest wishes. During the time we have 
been here, I never have had one ache or pain ; and I part 
from it with more regret than I felt when parting from my 
native land." 

The Q*****k*r was about the middle of the line as it 
passed through the narrow entrance, and she alone, of the 
fifteen sail, was mute and failed to salute, as with a fair 
wind and a flowing tide she shot past the lighthouse, and 
dropped anchor in the pool in front of the pilot station. 
And what do you imagine, gentle reader, was the salute P 
" The British ensign at the main ?" — guess again : " Gun- 
powder and oakum ?" — guess again : " Three genuine British 
cheers, with a discharge of pickled caps ?" — as fer from it as 
ever. It was the ever-ringing, never-dying ditty, which ap- 
pears destined, like the sun, never to set or cease on or in 
the British dominions — it was the everlastiDg " Cheer, boys, 

ajppeabance or the heads. 25 

cheer, for the new and happy land," issuing from five thou- 
sand frantic vocalists, as if they were bellowing for a prize. 
The entrance to Fort Phillip is about the same width as 
that leading into the bay of San Francisco, but is not nearly 
so deep, and is altogether wanting in that majestic grandeur 
imparted to the portals of the Golden Horn by the lofty 
mountains of the great coast range. On the top of the 
projecting cliff to the westward stood the lighthouse and 
telegraph station. On its eastern slope, the whitewashed 
cottages of the pilots were the only residences to be 
seen; while on the depressed sand tract constituting the 
eastern entrance point, a few ragged tents were pointed 
out as the quarantine station. But the former has become 
a pretty and fastly-flourishing township,* now boasting its 
churches, marine villas, and nice regular streets, and already 
precociously hinting at the propriety of municipal institu- 
tions. It is altogether free from that irritating summer 
visitant, the mosquito, and, being situated in the southern 
circumference of the bay, it is beyond the reach of those 
suffocating dust-clouds, propelled by the hot winds, which 
invariably blow from the north, for the dust subsides into 
the water before it crosses the forty-mile bay, and the dry, 
roasting temperature of the wind itself is materially modi- 
fied and improved in the same passage. The quarantine 
station is no longer composed of calico shanties. A fine 
capacious stone structure, of handsome architectural eleva- 
tion, has been lately erected for an hospital, laid out and 
fitted up in the most liberal style, and embracing all those 
sanitary improvements and adjuncts which the latest scien- 
tific and professional skill in the old countries has found to 
be beneficial. 

We came to anchor early in the evening in Hobson's Bay, 

* Qneenscliffe. 

26 ura is tictoeia- 

about midway between the towns of Williamatown and 
Sandridge. The former, originally intended as the capital, 
was called after the sovereign of the day, the latter deriving 
its patronymic from the nature of the soil on which it stands. 
Melbourne eity, only two males distant,, had a mature and 
imposing appearance, altogether incompatible with its recent 
birth, while the low eastern shore* of the bay and higher 
background*,, pleasingly sprinkled with elegant villaeya&rded 
proofs of progress and refinement far away m advance e£ oer 
previous- conceptions. 

Aa the eventing- was raw and squally, we elected to remain 
os board ; but we ware crammed with all the latest shore 
news by the hordes o£ canvassers from hotels and boarding- 
houses, who talked about gold as if it was "too much of a 
good thing"— a mete drug in everybody's head, which, ex- 
cited not move hist amongst colonists than pig-iaroni weuUL 
amongst Welshmen. •The- captain got very fidgety as he 
saw the sailors gulping down these exaggerations, and. as the 
last shore beat shoved off he had all the loose oaors prat 
ia ckaiaa imdar lock and hey, to guard against dew**. 

Oar voyage occupied exactly one hundred andthurty-tbroe 
days irons the date of our leaving Margate downs, being 
nearly as protracted a period as that occupied by the Jfcwrp 
BaA& m her first celebrated double run oat and back, when, 
it is said, hear owners, on having received a telegraphic mes- 
sage that their ship was. off Holyhead*, began most desponaV 
ingly to speculate on the disaster that could have driven 
their vessel back after having been five months at sea, never 
once imagining it possible that she could have reached MA- 
bourne^ landed her passengers, taken in ballast and cargo, 
and reappeared in the Mersey within a time very Httle over 
the average duration of the outward passage alone; But the 



clippers have produced a revolution in navigation, and have 
subdued the obstinacy of British ship-builders, whose old- 
fashioned, wall-sided, flat-bottomed sailing machines were 
regarded as prodigies if they made a passage out and home 
from India in a day under the twelve months. 


28 lite nsr victobia. 


Batman's first Visit to Port Phillip — Its first terrestrial Christening — The 
first Deed of Conveyance — Its Character — The Consideration — First City 
Site chosen on Gellibrand's Point — Abandoned soon after on the Dis- 
covery of the Tarra-Tarra — Translated to the Site of the present Capital 
—Description of Williamstown in 1852— Williamstown in 1857 — 
Colonial Steam-boat — Her Arrangements — Her Passengers — The three 
Swells — The Contrast they afforded — The Yarra Banks — The Mooring- 
post — The Landing — Dismay of the Swells at the Aspect of Affairs — 
State of the River Banks — Destruction of Merchandise — Past and Pre- 
sent — Bay and River Charges — The first Acre sown with Wheat in Port 
Phillip — Its present Use and Value — The first Church Service " in the 
new and happy Land" — Batman's first Sheep Station — Its present Flock 
— Origin of the Plan of Melbourne — Interesting Extract — San Francisco 
compared with Melbourne. 

Off the 29th of May, 1835, twenty-three years ago, and 
about thirty-one years after its former abandonment, John 
Batman entered Fort Phillip Bay, and came to anchor off 
Indented Heads, where he landed and made an excursion 
into the interior, lured along by the charms of the country, 
without meeting any more ferocious animal than the meek 
and timid kangaroo. After several other explorative rambles 
and interviews with the aborigines, brought about through 
the agency of some Sydney natives whom Mr. Batman judi- 
ciously brought over with him, and who communicated to 
those wandering people the motives of his visit, it was 
agreed, by arrangement, that a conference should be held in 

batman's fibst visit. 29 

a promontory further up the bay, which Batman christened 
Gellibrand's Point, in honour of one of his most distinguished 
associates, Joseph Tice Gellibrand, ex- Attorney-General of 
Van Diemen's Land, and on or about the space where Wil- 
liamstown now stands a contract was signed, sealed, and 
delivered, by John Batman on the one part, and three royal 
brothers euphoniously called Jagga Jagga, together with 
five minor chiefs, on the other, granting to the said John 
Batman 600,000 acres of land, radiating in a northerly, 
easterly, and westerly direction from the point on which the 
document was executed, for the consideration of a few gross 
of razors and a few bundles of blankets. 

It would appear that at this time Mr. Batman intended 
making this point the nucleus of the new settlement and 
founding the capital thereon. But the total absence of 
water in the neighbourhood, as well as the immediate sub- 
sequent discovery of the river Yarra-Yarra, induced him, it 
is presumed, to acquiesce in adopting the more preferable 
site on which Melbourne now stands, whither King John 
the First, by the grace of blankets and razors, transferred 
his royal establishment, and erected his throne on a conical 
eminence at the western end of the new suburbs, which 
then received, and still retains, the sobriquet of Batman's 
Hill. I take for granted it was owing to this circumstance 
— the removal of the court — that during the eighteen years 
which elapsed from that period nearly up to my landing in 
May, 1853, the infant city remained almost in statu quo, 
lying in a trance of perfect torpidity for sixteen years, but 
awakening to something like animation in 1851 on the dis- 
covery of the gold-fields. Yet even in the two succeeding years 
it made but very slow and rude progress, for when I stepped 
on its rickety pier, which rocked enough to make an inlander 
sea-sick, the only symptoms of a town I could discover were 


some large weatherboard arks anchored in the mud ; one or 
two occupied as batchers' shops to supply the shipping, one 
or tiro licensed to stupify their customers with adulterated 
alcohol, a leviathan eating-house, superscribed with the noti- 
fication " Dinners always ready from morning till night,* 
and the postscript, " Hot soups always on hand." There 
was a large grey calico smithy alongside, emitting showers 
of sparks, which, cnrioissly enough, flew upwards without 
igniting the inflarainaULe roof, and close by a ship wri ght 's 
yard, with an office and dry workshop, covered in by a long- 
boat inverted and elevated on piles. There was a straggling 
suburb of ships' galleys and hurricane-houses, with here and 
there a few buoys, as if to indicate the line of safe thorough- 
fares, while the shore, up to high-water mark, was covered 
with a debris of drift spars, broken oars, ship-blocks, dead- 
eyes, used-up passengers 9 beds and pillows, dilapidated hen- 
coops, empty brandy cases, broken bottles, and kegs with a 
ballast of salt water. 

Bat the Willianastown of 1857 is really an important 
place, intersected with wide, regular streets, curbed, chan- 
nelled, and macadamised, with regular trottoirs, fine stone 
and brisk buildings, private houses, excellent hotels, fine 
shops, most spacious and well-assorted general stores, branch 
banks, churches of all denominations, a railway connecting 
it with Geefang, and another on the eve of completion, that 
will •extend into the heart of the gold-Helds, and link it by a 
fork to the metropolis. The Wiliiamstown termirww will be 
connected with a fine pier roaming into water sufficiently 
deep for the Ingest clipper ships to discharge alongside, and 
will soon be able to boast a patent slip, on which any vessel 
afloat— except, perhaps, tbe Great Ems tcrn can l>e ran up 
and repaired. In 18S3 it-was too insignificant a spot to have 
its inhabitants numbered, but in 1867 it was found to 


contain a resident population of 3536 souls, besides an enor- 
mous floating population, always ebbing and flowing. It is 
now locally governed by a municipal corporation, which 
elects its own mayor and common council, and, to cap the 
climax, returns a member to the Legislative Assembly of 
Victoria, — rather a marvellous career of progress and im- 
provement, it must be admitted, within the brief space of 
four years. 

After a considerable delay — mind you, in 1853 — a non- 
descript-looking thing in the shape of a broken-winded 
steam-tub came alongside with a bump that nearly knocked 
the pier off its legs. It looked like a colonial ballast lighter 
into which an in-coming ship had discharged a steam-engine, 
and set it to work in a hurry. There was no 'tween decks, 
but a Ene drawn close after the funnel distinguished those 
exclusive passengers who preferred paying 7s. 6d. for a river 
trip of a few miles from the meaner multitude who confined 
their expenditure to 5s. Taking them for all in all, they 
were a mixed and motley lot, principally of the class below 
the middle order, amalgamated with a small leaven of the 
upper crust of Old World society, who, having experienced 
the folly and pecuniary inconvenience of leading the lives of 
gentlemen at large, had, with a wise, brave, and praiseworthy 
resolution, donned the jumper and laced-up water-tights, to 
earn an honest livelihood with a quiet conscience and a good 
appetite. There happened, however, to be a triumvirate on 
board, who constituted a marked and amusing contrast to 
the great majority, leaning on slim, attenuated umbrellas, 
dressed with the most mathematical precision in faultless 
West-end habiliments, patent leather boots, and Trench 
kids 4&at trowed the rihape of the finger-nails, and would 
hffve revealed their crests had they been engraved on them, 
so accurately did they fit. Each of these swells had a light 


carpet-bag, lankily packed with some angular stuffing, which 
indicated toilet gear, and perhaps boot-trees. They were 
odorous of Atkinson, and puffed their cigars in a dainty 
fashion, calculated to reprove the vulgar, vigorous style of 
fumography of the other passengers; but, with all their 
nonchalance, they did not appear at their ease, looking as 
much out of place as a trio of dahlias in a corn-field, where 
the heads, shaking in pity, whispered into each other's 
ears, "What on earth can those delicate, gaudy flowers 
mean to do amongst us plain, rough, matter-of-fact corn- 

Although the current of the Yarra-Yarra is sluggish, it 
took nearly two hours to breast — not cleave — that tortuous 
river. For seven miles above its junction with the Salt- 
water Biver, its southern bank was thickly and deeply fringed 
with a tea-tree scrub, which would be impenetrable but for 
its suppleness; and within about a mile of the city its 
northern bank was lined with an unbroken chain of slaugh- 
ter-houses and fellmongery establishments, which filled the 
circumambient air with the most sickening odours, that 
were prevented from stagnating by huge dropsical-looking 
pigs that kept constantly wallowing in the decomposed offal. 
Prodigious rats also patronised that quarter, seemingly 
divested of that suspicious timorousness which charac- 
terises their genus in most other countries. When at our 
destination, the boat was made fast to a weather-worn stake 
— not improbably the identical one which John Paseoe Fawk- 
ner drove into the virgin soil of the Yarra bank to moor his 
little barque, the Enterprise, on Sunday, the 21st August, 
1835, about two months after the cession of the territory to 
John Batman, whose police — the Sydney natives — informed 
Mr. Fawkner and his associates " that their master was king 
of Fort Phillip, and having purchased all the lands thereabout, 


warned all trespassers to keep aloof." We managed to land 
somehow without leaving our boots as hostages in the mud, 
but it was a matter of impossibility — they would have it — 
for the three swell gentlemen to get ashore without a gang- 
way ; however, as there was no such article of nautical fur- 
niture aboard the Flying Msh, they had no alternative but 
follow suit. "When they got on terra jirma, and stamped 
the loose mud off their nice boots, one of them, looking about 
with an air of ineffable horror, drawlingly accosted a by- 
stander: "Tom, do you desire a job?" "What sort?" 
" Just to carry a carpet-bag." " Will it want two to take 
it ?" " No." " Then take it yourself," was the cool reply, 
which ended the colloquy. 

The north bank of the Tarra, at that time, from the falls 
down to the slaughter-houses, was a slough of dark mud in 
a state of liquidity, only a very few degrees removed from 
that of the river, and along it the entire distance was a line 
of lighters and intercolonial vessels, four deep, discharging 
promiscuously into the mire bales of soft goods, delicate 
boxes of dry goods, cases of brandy, barrels of flour, pack- 
ages of Glenfield's patent starch, "warranted used in the 
royal laundry," mixed pickles, real Havannahs, Cossepore 
sugar, Mocha coffee, Bass's pale ale, Barclay's brown stout, 
double-rose Cork butter, Scotch oatmeal, and a hundred-and- 
one other and sundry articles, piled up in mountains in the 
muck, of which the " dry goods" not unfrequently consti- 
tuted the lower stratum or foundation. The freight of this 
merchandise from the bay to the wharf was then 30s. per 
ton, and the allowance for breakage, damage, and peculation 
was averaged at 10s. more, to which another half sovereign 
added fdr cartage, gave a total freight from ship's side to the 
store of 50s. per ton, — within a very little of the amount 
charged for its transport from the London Docks to Hob- 

TOL. I. D 


son's Bay. The present freight from the bay is only 5s. per 
ton, the lighters, in unfavourable winds, being always tugged 
up by steamers, making a trip in the tide, instead — as was 
frequently the case in olden times— of a month ; the crews 
then never thinking of despatch, so long as there were pre- 
served meats, Burton ale, and bird's-eye tobacco aboard. 
But now, when they reach their destination in the Yanra, 
they are moored alongside ranges of wharfs extending nearly 
a mile, constructed in a style quite equal to those of any 
old-country port, with excellent sheds at regular dis- 
tances, where the most perishable goods can lie with safety 
in the most inclement weather ; rather a quick march of 
improvement and reform, in connexion with which I most 
mention that cartage has declined to 3s., and storage from 
4s. per ton per week to about one-tenth of that charge, so 
that account sales now rendered to consignors must be pro- 
digiously disencumbered of their early plethorism, if I may 
coin a word. 

My fellow-passengers and myself having made a slight 
river acquaintance with an intelligent and obliging old 
chum — a word then foreign to our ears — were agreeably 
conducted by him a little distance to see some of the most 
contiguous antipodean lions, one of which, close by our 
landing, was the first acre of land fenced in and sown with 
wheat by Mr. Eawkner in 1835, on which the extensive 
smoke-vomiting foundries of Messrs. Langlands and Co., 
and Messrs. Fulton and Co., now stand, melting metal and 
pounding malleable iron into all the various shapes necessary 
for cultivating the soil, and extracting its unbounded mine- 
ral resources. I should be afraid to repeat the valuation 
put upon those properties— -exclusive of the buildings— by 
my old chum friend — for in 1853 a land mania prevailed— 
but I will give a line to those conversant with figurea for 


forming a judgment of their intrinsic worth in the present 
rational times. The plot of ground on which the Primitive 
Weskyan chapel stands at the corner of Great Collins and 
Queen streets, containing about one quarter of an acre^ 
more or less, was lately sold by the trustees of that body to 
Mr. JSTehemiah G-uthridge for 40,0001., the Bank of Austra- 
lasia having bid up to 35,0001. This same allotment, be it 
known, was sold by auction at a Government land, sale in 
November, 1837 — the second which had taken place in the 
colony — for the modest sum of 35J., and changed hands, in 
two years afterwards, for 40/. We next went a little to the 
westward, and ascended the eminence still called Batman's 
Hill, on the summit of which that gentleman had erected 
the first Christian habitation in the " new and happy land." 
There, too, the Eev. Mr. Orton read the first church services 
and chanted the first hymn of thanksgiving to the beneficent 
Creator of the universe, before a select but rather motley 
congregation, for, in addition to Mr. Batman's family and 
attendants and his few associates, there was a sable group of 
Sydney natives, attired in white Indian costume, and a 
village of Port Phillip aborigines of both sexes, robed in 
opossum skins, who seemed to be more impressed than auto- 
nished at the simple but solemn and earnest ceremony. The 
hill remains to the present day in its primeval coat of ver- 
dure, bearing the same herbage which sprouted as the waters 
receded from the face of the earth, with a few disconsolate 
she-oaks, little better than forest ghosts, mourning over 
the departed independence of their soil, as the north-east 
wind sighs through their ragged foliage. The only modern 
innovations on this tumulus is a powder-magazine on its 
western flank, and a range of railway offices on its north- 
eastern base. There is a splendid and expansive view from 
its top. To the north, Pootscray, and the great open country 


36 lite nr victobia. 

up to the dividing range, whose line is indicated by Mount 
Macedon. To the south, the green eminence of Emerald 
Hill ; and in the distance Gardener's Creek district, St. Kilda, 
Brighton, and the easterly indentation of the bay. To the west, 
Sandridge, Hobson's Bay, Williamstown, Corio Bay, and 
the ranges and bold peaks at its back. To the east, the fair 
city of Melbourne, with the crown of Collingwood peeping 
up in its rear, the tumultuous Dandenong hills, and the 
densely-wooded Plenty ranges, standing obliquely in the 
background. From the hill we proceeded a short distance to 
a more depressed eminence, which Mr. Batman selected as 
his sheep station, erecting a shepherd's hut very near, if not 
on, the precise spot where St. James's church now stands, 
having the Very Bev. Dean Macartney as the spiritual 
shepherd, looking after the religious comfort and Christian 
improvement of his human flock. And now, before proceed- 
ing to report my personal progress, I will indulge in a few 
remarks about the infancy of Melbourne. Captain Lonsdale 
obtains the credit of having, in the first instance, selected 
and definitely pitched upon the site of the city, but I believe 
Charles Joseph Latrobe was the person who conceived its 
really grand and comprehensive plan. In the early days of 
his vicarial rule land was cheap, the cares of office light, 
political agitation in the womb of the future, squatters 
occupied their boundless territories without exciting the 
envy or jealousy of the other classes, and the sobriquet of 
Digger was exclusively divided between the primitive Indian 
of that ilk in the central basin of America, and the rollicking 
son of the Emerald Isle, who brought his favourite esculent 
to light on the point of his spade. Mr. Latrobe, having 
little or nothing to do — as an antidote to ennui, a species of 
pastime — sketched out during his spells of day-dreaming 
recreation the skeleton of a vast city, which he entertained 


as little notion would ever be animated and filled in by a 
dense trading and professional population, as that a line of 
telegraph-wires would be laid to the moon. The central plan 
was a series of streets running east and west for nearly a 
mile, the five principal ones being ninety-nine feet in width, 
and five minor ones — three hundred and sixty-five feet in the 
rear of the others — thirty feet wide, intended to be used as 
mews ; these streets were intersected at right angles by 
seven others, sixty-six feet wide. There were two large 
squares reserved within its area at either extremity as 
markets, besides several spacious reserves for religious en- 
dowments and public offices; and without any apparent 
probability that even this space would be occupied within 
the limits of a century, the town boundary was extended 
away into the Bush, and imaginative parks, and parades, and 
gardens without number, and of the most ambitious dimen- 
sions, were deliberately mapped and duly staked off. But 
the day-dream has turned out a reality, for these remote 
parks and pleasure-grounds are now being bounded by ex- 
tensions of the original streets, lined with stately dwellings 
and magnificent terraces, arising, as it were, out of the ashes 
of the aboriginal corrobborees, surrounded with smiling par- 
terres, and indented with cellars of generous wine, buried in 
the bosom of the soil to cure it of hydrophobia. 

As I am disinclined to commence a narrative of my 
rambles at the end of a chapter, I will wind up this 
with a short extract from an excellent periodical, started 
and edited by William Henry Archer, Assistant Regis- 
trar-General of Victoria, than whom there is no better 
statistical authority in the colony. The periodical is entitled 
Facts and Figures ; or, Notes of Progress, Statistical and Ge- 
neral, for Australian Circulation, The number from which I 
quote is No. 5, and I am satisfied the editor will forgive me 

38 lots nr vtotobia. 

in venturing to give his notes an English emulation as 
well, where I am sure they will pan current without any 
discount. The extract has reference to the subject already 
treated of in this chapter. It is headed, " The Growth of Mel- 
bourne— Stones and Souls," and is as follows :— " September 
28, 1857. — " This is an age of marvels, and of all the mar- 
vellous facts of the nineteenth century, the rapid and solid 
growth of the colony of Victoria is not the least ntarveUous. 
The metropolis is a fair index of her extraordinary develop- 
ment. Two-and-twenty years since this city had no exist- 
ence, and to-day its inhabitants are tenfold more numerous 
than the forest-trees they have supplanted. The green 
sward that was wont to be pressed by the indolent foot of 
the wild man has disappeared beneath the steady, active, 
ceaseless tread of the white ; and the birds and the beasts 
that afforded the aboriginal a precarious existence, have fled 
from the bustle and hum of some hundred thousand workers, 
who have swarmed from the old hives of civilisation. 

" The municipal statistics of Melbourne, which (for the first 
time) are printed in full detail in our present number, com- 
mence with the year of incorporation, 1842. The assess- 
ment was made in the first quarter of 1848 ; there were then 
1095 houses, and their total value was estimated at 66,847^, 
the inhabitants numbering not less than 6000 souls. Tear 
by year the stream of population enlarged, and tene- 
ments of course steadily increased. Ai the end of ten 
years we find recorded, in the first quarter of 1858, nearly 
fivefold the number of buildings just now stated. The actual 
number was 4980, their yearly value being assessed at 
688,8843. A great change had by thk time come over the 
population. The quiet, plodding spirit of regularly rewarded 
industry had given way to one of feverish excitement. The 
gold-fields had been discovered, and men moved hither and 



thither, flushed and dizzy with the actual, or hoped for, 
sudden realisation of wealth. Ere another year had passed, 
the startling treasure-gains of 1852 had made Victoria world- 
famous, and there naturally flowed to her ports a huge tide 
of human existence. lite result was, that in one year there 
were upwards of 4000 additional buildings erected in Mel- 
bourne .city alone, while in the suburbs canvas and Blab, and 
wattle and dab, sprang up with mushroom rapidity and 
tropical growth. In the early part of 1854 there wfere no 
less than 9175 habitations, containing nearly 54,000 inhabit- 
ants ; and the yearly value of the dwellings was valued at the 
enormous amount, for an infant settlement, of 1,553,9657. 
At the beginning of 1355 there were 11,647 edifices to be 
found in Melbourne, but since that time the two sister muni- 
cipalities, Emerald Bill and St. EUda, have left their metro- 
politan parent, and carried their parting dowry with them ; 
but Melbourne still shows (m 1857) the goofty number of 
10,000 dwellings, assessed at nn annual value of 900,O00F 
and the population is stfll Bomewhere about 50,000 souls. 

* In Teference to the municipal statistics of Melbourne, 
there are one or two interesting facts that will further tend 
to illustrate the progress of Melbourne— -as, for instance, the 
average value of property in each year, and afeo the actual 
purchasable value of property in the city of Melbourne. 
Thus, by taking the number of buildings in each year, and the 
assessment, we And the average value of each to be as 

In 1843 . 

fSB 11 


lOaTiiMwt.mmw WW *f 

1845 19 7 



15 10 

25 1 





25 15 



29 18 

29 3 



33 13 


35 7 


Average for 10 years, 

L848 to 1652, 

32/. 12s. 


In 1853 £128 5 71 

1854 169 7 4 1 Average for 5 years, 

1855 98 6 

1856 72 18 2 

1857 85 14 7 

1853 to 1857, 
109/. 17s. 8<L 

" In this table it will be seen that there are three periods, 
at regular intervals of five years, in which a depreciation in 
value appears to have taken place — 1844-5, 1849-50, 1854-5 
(for the assessment being made at the beginning of each 
year, is a criterion of the progress or retrogression during 
the preceding one) — but that in 1849 is the least notice- 
able of the three ; that in 1844 is a depreciation of 66 per 
cent. ; and that in 1854 of 45 per cent., with a still further 
reduction in the years immediately following. 

" The greatest proportionate rise in the value seems to 
have been in 1852-3, when property advanced more than 300 
per cent., although the great increase in the number of build- 
ings is not apparent till the next year ; and notwithstanding 
the various fluctuations, the table shows an increase in value 
of 240 per cent, during the last ten years. 

" As the assessed value, for the purpose of rating, averages 
only about two-thirds of the annual rental of property, we 
may estimate the latter, in 1843, at 91,2702., while in 1854 
it had increased to about 2,330,947Z. ; and as property in 
Melbourne is worth on an average seven years' purchase, it 
would give us an actual purchasable value of more than six- 
teen millions sterling; and in 1857, with a prospect of a 
continuous rise, by following the same rule, we arrive at a 
product of nine and a quarter millions as the value of pro- 
perty in Melbourne, even though two portions, St. Kilda 
and Emerald Hill, have been separated. 

" The number of buildings Melbourne would have contained 
at the present moment, had the rate of increase since 1853 


been in the same proportion as previously, would, I imagine, 
Have been about 6600; and had not the above-mentioned 
portions been detached, there would have been, at the rate of 
the increase in the last two years, about 11,800 buildings now 
in Melbourne. This shows that about 5200 buildings (more 
than the whole number erected during the eleven years 
1843 to 1853 inclusive) have been added to Melbourne within 
the last five years over and above the gradual annual in- 

" As to the appearance of Melbourne, we have not space 
to do more than allude to the substantial character of the 
buildings now everywhere to be seen. The age of wood is 
fast merging into that of stone, and our ancient muddy 
highways are already petrified under the process of Macadam. 
Gas has dispelled night-darkness in our streets, the chief of 
which are ninety-nine feet in width. "Water, that was wont to 
be hawked about from place to place as a precious thing, and 
scantily meted out in pails and cans at a fabulous price, is 
now circulating healthily and purely through the great bulk 
of the metropolis ; and even the thirsty streets, when the 
hot winds come, will no longer lack their daily cool and re- 
freshing draughts." 

In this brief but comprehensive glance at the unparalleled 
rise and progress of Melbourne Proper, the editor of Facts 
and Figures has left altogether out of sight, and never once 
alluded to, the immense and important wing of the metropolis 
called Collingwood, which in reality is as much Melbourne 
as Fimlico is London ; for although it has (fortunately for 
itself) a distinct municipal corporation, it is, strictly speak- 
ing, a part and parcel of the city, connected by an unbroken 
chain of streets and parades, without any river intervening, 
or any waste suburb separating them. It contained, in 


1854, 17,910, and in 1857, 21^85 inhabitants, advancing all 
the time in its local improvements pari pmesu with the 
parent city. In the early part of 1848, 1 saw die great city 
of Ban Francisco jump from its cradle, shake off its swaddlisg- 
clothes, and precociously assume the aspect of adolescence in 
the space of tweke months. I then witnessed the great fire 
which scathlessly Binged its white gossamer wings and 
scarred and shrivelled its weatherboard body; and in the 
midst of the roaring tempest of smoke and flame I saw a tall 
Yankee — the personification of the national spirit-^endea- 
vouring to nail on the charred door-post of his late establish- 
ment a notice " that the Cslifornian Restaurant, burnt oat last 
night, is removed to No. 39, Clay-staeet," holding hk head 
baek during the operation lest a lambent tongue of fine 
should scorch his long beard. In a similar spirit of en- 
terprise and determination, the whole population laboured 
and toiled until a new city of much fairer and finer dimensions 
arose from the embers in a lew months. I looked upon 
the resurrection as a miracle— the «rveot of a lifetime— 
not to be again equalled in an age; and the Americans 
themselves, aocastomed as they are to extemporised cities, 
vowed "that it whipped creation," "beat ail natur," "and 
went ahead of the hul worl," christening it, in their 
" almighty " glorification, " The Queen of the Pacific" Bat, 
without growing many years older, I lived to see tha 
northern queen city eclipsed by the superior radiance of a 
southern metropolis, not arrayed in nails and lumber, or in 
canvas or corrugated iron, but in bricks and stone, cement 
and mortar — not run up, either, in a rude utilitarian style, 
but decorated with all the charms and graces of the chastest 
orders of architecture, for its very stores, erected for the 
purposes of trade, much less the great public or corporate 


buildings, are chiselled, carved, columned, and corniced in a 
fashion of ornate but correct finish that would in earnest 
reality entitle them to be classified with those elaborately 
got-up edifices in Pali-Mall and St. James's-street in which 
noblemen and gentlemen become oblivious of their domestic 
duties and relations. Yes, Melbourne, young as she is, is, 
without doubt, the overtopping wonder of the world, as well 
in her stalwart proportions as in her architectural graces. 



The old Post-office — The new one — A City Stroll — Melbourne Costume in 
1853— Libert^ Egalit£ Fraternity— The Ladies to be seen in Public in 
these Days — Their Costumes — Their floral and other Ornaments — Their 
Style of Shopping — A Digger's Gallantry— Melbourne Streets and Trot- 
toirs in 1853 — The Difficulties of Locomotion — Hanging np your Horse 
—Bullock Teams— Irregularity of the Houses — Public-houses — Equality 
of Sexes at their Ban — The Christian Character of their Signboards — 
Groups of new Chums — An old Friend in a new Guise — Canvas Town — 
Benjamin Edgington — His Yankee Competitor — His charitable Instincts 
— Curiosities of Literature — Mrs. Molony and her sympathetic Neigh- 
bours — Danger and Retreat — Emerald Hill — Bent a Residence there — 
Style of Architecture — Domestic Transparencies — Melbourne Restaurant 
in 1853— Difficulty about Beds— Night Row— Miraculous Escape— A 
Melbourne Boniface in 1853 — The Digger's Banker — Our first Bed in 
the Colony. 

After parting with my old chum friend and getting the 
bearings of the Post-office, I bent my steps thither in expecta- 
tion of finding some letters that should have come forward 
by a mail which left England subsequent to our departure. 
I found this important public building represented by a 
wretched wooden hovel, awkwardly propped up in a filthy 
quagmire, and surmounted with a clock-tower the exact 
counterpart of the louvre of a corn-kiln. The clock, in ex- 
ternal appearance, was respectable enough, but the frequent 
and considerable changes made on its dial-plate in the course 
of each day warranted the idea that the hands required some- 
thing beyond mechanical agency to keep them in their proper 


places. There were two approaches for inquiry, railed off at 
the immediate approach to the delivering apertures ; but as 
the letters of the alphabet were impartially divided in twain 
and assigned to each, it followed, as a matter of course, that 
the aperture to which such unpopular letters as Q, TJ, V, X, 
T, and Z were allotted would be comparatively idle, while 
the other would be crowded with a column of unintermitting 
applicants. I belonged to the popular aperture, and found 
that the transit of a couple of hours only brought me within 
the railing, when, weary and disgusted, I would have raised 
the siege, only that I was unwilling to subject myself to the 
ordeal of the jeering laugh to which every tired-out " lime- 
juicer,' ' as we new chums were called, was treated on his 
abdication. In order to while away the remainder of the 
time, I modestly opened a conversation with the man next 
me, who was a hirsute giant, attired in a rough, travel- 
stained drayman's garb. " Yes," he replied, in a mellifluous 
tone, "this post-office nuisance is a dreadful bore," which 
convinced me at once he was bred up to a very different oc- 
cupation. He gave me much useful information, and when 
it came to his turn, after a considerable lapse, in reply to an 
injunction from the interior, he said, " Oh, I must sign my 
name, must I ?" when, sticking the cart-whip into the breast 
of his jumper in a most professional manner, he wrote his 
name in a fine Eoman hand, with hacked fingers which must 
have been strangers for some weeks to soap and water. This 
aboriginal post-office was, in 1854, encased in a specious 
corrugated iron edifice, which, though of a plain, simple 
exterior, possessed almost all the modern improvements and 
advantages of similar establishments. But even this com- 
modious edifice is now (1857) doomed to demolition, and a 
splendid pile is about being erected on the same site, which 
is the most convenient position that could be chosen. 


Leaving the Post-office, I went to make a call on an old- 
country friend and schoolfellow, but not finding him at 
home, I went with my fellow-passenger for a stroll of ob- 
servation. From my Califomian experience, I was prepared 
for many of the strange sights and appearances ; not so my 
companion, who, though what may be called a citizen of the 
world, could ill suppress his amaaement at the scenes he 
witnessed. To begin at the top: there was not one per 
cent, of the olden species of hat called bell-toppers. 'Wide- 
awakes of sundry shapes, and cabbage-trees of every tint of 
dirtiness, were the order of the day. Neckties and bare 
necks were about on a par. Coloured shirts had banished 
their fair brethren. Goats were nowhere to be seen, shoot* 
ing-jackets and jumpers monopolising the fashion. Trousers 
alone held their own, bat they were as frequently stuffed 
inside long jack-boots, or suspended over laced-up water- 
tights. I only on that day observed one pair of gloves, 
which were worn by a little purse-proud old chum, but from 
the way in which he kept his thumb and fingers distended— 
like a section of wheel-spokes — it was evident he felt as un- 
comfortable as an aboriginal in tight boots, using his hands 
when in motion as if he were paddling through the air. The 
more respectable of the fair sex in these days did not often 
appear in public, as a sentiment synonymous with the motto, 
"Liberie, EgaHt6, et fraternity' was in the ascendant, 
which, in the infancy of police organisation and the preva- 
lence of lucky diggerism, was frequently evinced in an over- 
affectionate manner, particularly to the gentler portion of 
the community. Thus the females we almost invariably en- 
countered were either of that atroiig-minded class who had 
caught their diggers m vinculo matrimonii, or were anxious to 
encourage diggers' attentions without the bother or conven- 
tional ceremony of forging the chain. These striking but 


unattractive women jostled you on the flagwaya, elbowed you 
in the shops, and rattled through the streets in carriages 
hired at a guinea an hour, arrayed in flaunting dresses of the 
most florid colours, composed of silks, sarcenets, and brocaded 
satins, which had evidently been manufactured in the infancy 
of the power-loom, and low-classed, old-fashioned tabinets 
that had slumbered on the shelves of Dublin warehouses 
antecedent to the Union, but which now went off swimmingly 
as " the newest and latest fashions/' in exchange for Ballarat 
nuggets. These women were also addicted to flowers and 
corn-stalks, and every tribe of those incongruous ornaments 
which meet in the common ground of a lady's bonnet, pay- 
ing, as I ascertained, more for a meagre bunch composed of 
wire, printed calico, and spangles, than would purchase the 
rarest bouquet of forced flowers in Covent Garden market. 
Ruasols were also a passion of theirs, and the more gaudy 
the hues the higher the price the shopman could extract. 
" Prevailing fashion, I assure you, ma'am— patronised by the 
Ihnpress of Prance — got out a few just to see how they'd 
take — only one more left ;" and, comical to relate, many of 
these women were so unaccustomed to their use as often to 
carry them at the shady side, leaving the sun to beam down 
on their brazen faces. Nor must I omit noticing the pon- 
derous chains, the corpulent earrings, the handcuffy bracelets, 
and the wide rings set with curiously-stained glass which 
they delighted in sporting, purchased for them at prices that 
would make Storr, or Mortimer, or both together, stare with 
a gaze of amazement equal to that of Sing OToole's at the 
conduct of his pet goose. H. and I turned into one of the 
fashionable shops in Collins-street, where this elass and 
tbeir admirers constituted the majority of the throng, just 
to witness the style of transacting business. The quantity 
of money they expended was really fabulous, and afforded a 



tolerable earnest of the teeming richness of the land. They 
never found fault with, or rejected, any article, unless the 
shopman, in a fit of absence of mind, happened to ask a low 
figure — about two hundred per cent, above cost price. On* 
this occasion a lady of respectability, who had timidly re- 
ceded to the end of the shop watching for a lull in the digger 
demand, now advanced to the counter, and after examining 
a dress in a manner which showed that she was somewhat 
of a judge of the fabric, declined it, saying, " It was too ex- 
pensive ;" whereupon a gallant digger, with a Dulcinea on 
his arm, promptly ordered two to be cut off, and absolutely 
endeavoured to force them on her as a spontaneous gift. 
H., being modest, bought a pair of shocking bad gloves, 
for which he paid 6s. 6d., and we went on our rambles again. 
It happened, however, that a heavy shower of rain had fallen 
while we were watching the Victorian Swan and Edgar style 
of doing business, and not being shod in a suitable manner, 
we found it both difficult and disagreeable to get along. For 
in those days the small patches of flagged side-paths in the 
whole city might have been counted without getting into the 
teens, and the fine loam with which they were coated soon 
got from mortar into positive puddle never less than three 
inches, and very frequently deep enough to reach the top of 
an ankle-boot ; so that, seeing there was no use in mincing 
or picking our steps, we rolled up the bottoms of our trousers 
about as high as a Highlander's gaiter, and went straight 
through it. The streets were in perfect keeping with the 
trottoirs, being only passable on the central ridge, where a 
narrow line of thoroughfare was established, partly from the 
drainage caused by the depression on each side, and partly 
by a process of macadamisation, which consisted in pepper- 
ing it over with boulders of rock, that seemed to be precious 
stones, from the stepmother niggardliness with which they 


were distributed. But bad as the track was, woe betide the 
cart or waggon forced to give way to either side during the 
wet season, for they immediately became engulphed to the 
axles, rarfely getting extricated without some additional 
horse or ox power to drag them bodily out of the sludge. 
Even saddle-horses only managed to get through the margins 
with extreme difficulty, straggling along like flies over a plate 
of treacle. I have seen hundreds of instances — five per cent, 
of them at the door of the great Bank of Australasia — where 
riders, alighting and hanging up* their horses while trans- 
acting business, found the poor animals on their return sunk 
to their chests in the mire, with their chins patiently resting 
on the kerbstones. Bullock teams alone seemed capable of 
pulling through with any degree of steadiness or regularity, 
and their wild appearance, as well as great preponderance 
in the main streets of a metropolis, certainly struck the eye 
of a stranger as a curious novelty. 

As we trudged along, the extremely irregular aspect of the 
city was very noticeable ; no two houses in juxtaposition 
were of the same height or of the same material. Most of 
the original ones were well built of brick or stone ; many of 
the next crop were composed of weatherboards ; and several 
of the later ones of canvas or corrugated iron. Corner 
houses were almost invariably selected for licensing, their 
doors standing directly in the angle, so as to offer an impar- 
tial invitation to each street; but, as it appeared to me, 
there was no need for studying convenience or affording 
facilities, for customers were so plentiful and so eager they 
would have mounted on scaling-ladders for nobblers, or gone 

* In Melbourne there are posts sunk in the ground almost opposite every 
door, with rings and latches for affixing the bridles to them ; for in early 
times the Bedouins of the streets were scarce, and latterly they are too ex- 
pensive to employ. Fastening your horse to one of these posts is termed 
" hanging him up." 

VOL. I. E 


down in buckets for them to the deepest cellars. The bars 
were always fall, the tap-rooms always crowded, and in those 
resorts, at least, there was no disproportion of the sexes. 
The women were as numerous as the men, and asserted the 
equality of their gentle genders by as deep potations, and as 
blasphemous and obscene vociferations, as their rougher asso- 
ciates. No wonder this trade should prosper in Victoria, as 
candidates for licenses generally commence business under 
the patronage of some tutelary saint, and, instead of resort- 
ing to unnatural history for red lions and blue boars, or to 
the farm-yard for black bulls and white horses, they reve- 
rently and religiously take up the Calendar, con it carefully 
oyer, and pick out some canonised patron distinguished in 
life for his jollifications as a " holy friar," and under the 
light of his congenial countenance they court the smiles of 
Fortune. I remarked one instance where it must have been 
that the publican, forestalled in all the male saints, placed a 
kit-cat of a lady saint over his portal, and under it a hand 
significantly pointing round the corner to a sly-looking door 
headed " Saint Elizabeth's Tap," as if it was the pet place 
of resort of that holy lady. While re-reading this original 
signboard, it struck me that while in Britain saints asso- 
ciated with sublunary pursuits are invariably shorn of their 
fair proportions and abbreviated to S**, they are awarded 
their full meed of orthography in Victoria. In passing those 
corners we remarked groups of new comers, who, like us, 
were indulging their curiosity; but while they were thus 
innocently and harmlessly occupied, I could see they were 
regarded by the old chums with looks of scowling jealousy as 
interloping intruders come without invitation to diminish 
their colonial income. 

Endeavouring to kill two birds with one stone by com- 
bining business with amusement, we turned our steps ten 


wards Canvas Town, on the south side of the Yarra, with the 
intention of selecting a site for ft temporary habitation, for, 
judging from my Califbrnian experience that lodgings would 
be our earliest and most urgent difficulty, I came provided 
with an excellent tent and camp apparatus. On going along 
Swanston-staeet, gazing at everything internal as well as out 
of doors, I missed my friend H. from my side, and observing 
him glancing furtively into a ham and sandwich refectory, I 
returned a few steps to take a peep at the curiosity, which 
proved to be a waiter, with an unclean towel astride his arm, 
hurrying to and fro amongrt * mob of cUmorowi customer.. 
I looked again without being able to detect anything par- 
ticularly strange, and while I kept looking, my friend kept 
shaking his head, half in doubt, half in abstraction. At length 
he informed me that the ministering angel inside was an old 
acquaintance of his, of excellent family, with whom he parted 
in Paris the previous October, " being then, as be said, on 
his way to winter in Borne or Naples, bored to death with 
London fogs and English society." This was rather a 
strong dose for a person like BL, roughing it himself for the 
first time in his life. We then jogged along silently across 
Princess Bridge, absorbed in reverie, until we entered the 
precincts of the once celebrated but now defunct Canvas 
Town. Here we were considerably surprised at finding 
something approaching to regularity in the disposition of 
the gossamer tenements, for, overlooking it from the high 
ground on the opposite side of the river, it appeared to be a 
confused swarm of tents, pitched at random on a hill-side, 
like a flock of pigeons after a long flight. On tike contrary, 
however, there was a series of streets, not, to be sure, laid 
out in straight lines, or running parallel to each other, or in- 
tersecting at right angles, but yet streets to all intents and 
purposes, with central thoroughfares, astd stores, and babiia- 



tions on each side ; and if fame constituted of wide-spread 
notoriety contributes to gladden the human heart, Benjamin 
Edgington, of Duke-street, London, would have been ren- 
dered about the happiest of mortals by a stroll through this 
overgrown hamlet, for nine-tenths of the tents bore the oval 
mark framing the impress of his name, and a large majority 
of the tarpaulins used in covering the out-door chattels were 
likewise distinguished by that stamp. Benjamin Edgington 
had, however, a few local competitors, and amongst them a 
slick, go-ahead Yankee, who announced, on a long and deep 
stripe of calico, that " he was the inventor and sole pro- 
prietor of the patent self-erecting tent." "We looked in to 
see the invention, which, though ingenious, and, to a certain 
extent, self-erecting, afforded no guarantee of stability, for 
when expanded by inflation it appeared rather disposed to 
become a " castle in the air" than remain a mundane fixture. 
After all the trouble of erection and explanation, I deemed 
it incumbent on me to ask the price, and retreat on the usual 
plea ; however, the demand was so outrageously exorbitant, 
it relieved me of all feelings of embarrassment. So, ironically 
complimenting him, foreigner as he was, on his proficiency 
in opening his mouth as wide as an old ♦ colonist, I was 
about departing, but he detained me, in order to explain 
" that the iday came into his head at church-time, and being 
a conscientious man he asked a tall price, and gave half the 
proceeds to charity." The chief peculiarity in this novel 
aggregation of human dwellings was that all were devoted to 
business of one kind or another, some mechanical, some pro- 
fessional, and some menial; and the signs or notifications 
over the various booths were regular curiosities of literature 
in their way, both as regards spelling and composition. One 
occupant was a " sale (sail) maker ;" another intimated that 
" boots were sold (soled) here ;" a general merchant supplied 


" coflee, reading, and refreshment ;" while the person over 
the way confined himself to " cofljpe threepence the half pint, 
bread-and-butter to shuit." An aspirant in the hotel line 
" had beds to let," but directed inquirers " to the back of 
the premises 5" while a chef de cuisine professed his anxiety 
to "take in joints for baking." "A lady, in her leisure 
hours," would make dresses, French fashion, or instruct 
youth ; and Mr. Scott, hairdresser, in a discharged ship 
galley, " set razors, drew teeth, and bled. — N.B. Mrs, S. 
made up medicines in his absence." In addition to which, 
barbers' poles bristled at every salient point ; butchers' shops 
abounded ; and if there were no licensed publics in this Eag 
Fair, the hecatombs of bottles, flasks, and gin jars strewed 
about, proved to a demonstration that there was a most un- 
limited, unlicensed consumption of ardent spirits. A pre- 
sumption otherwise materially strengthened by strong-fla- 
voured personal indications, of which I had unmistakable 
proof in a masculine countrywoman in the dishabille of a 
sailor's pea-jacket, who waded across the street to inquire 
" if it's washin' we wanted." " No, mam," I replied, " we 
must first find a lodging." " Oh, bedad," says she, " if 
that's what yer afther, I can fit your knuckle to a T. Look," 
she continued, pointing to a barrel raised upon sods, "at 
that fine chimbly ; well, thuther side o' that I've a strecher 
'11 hould yes both at three shillins a night." I managed to 
decline the proposed accommodation in as gracious a manner 
as I could put on ; but, determined on business of some de- 
scription, she fell back upon the washing. "Ah, thin, 
surely," says she, " daycent gentlemen likes yes must have a 
deal o' washin' afther the voyage, and can't yes give it to an 
industris woman like me, who only charges ten shillins the 
dozen ?" — " or about four shillings above the usual price," I 
remarked, in an audible soliloquy ; upon which, putting her 


hands in the jacket pockets, approaching the attitude to 
which all voluble women incline in energetic declamation, 
she apostrophised us in the following vernacular terms: 
" Sweet bad luck to the pair of yes, ye lousy lime-juicers. 
It's dirty linen that's too good for the likes of yes. I 
wouldn't give you a squeeze o' me blue-bag for the money. 
Maybe yes think I wash for divarshun, and that me wood is 
laid down to me for thankee, or that I git me wathur for the 
whistlin'. May the devil purshoe yes out o' the dayoent 
colony, you spalpeens ye." The dulcet tones in which Bhe 
addressed us evidently penetrated throughout the neigh- 
bourhood, for an audience was converging towards us in dif- 
ferent directions clad in a hybrid mongrel attire, which sug- 
gested the idea that the antipodes, amongst its other natural 
curiosities, contained human hermaphrodites; but they all 
proved to be of the gentler sex, the men being out at work 
for the day. The first on the field was a gaunt lady, standing 
five feet ten inches, in a pair of big broken Napoleon boots, 
and crowned with a towering greasy wideawake, which gave 
her quite the air of a disgraced bandit. "Mrs. Molony, 
dear," she affectionately exclaimed, " what are these saucy 
scamps a doin' of, aggervatin' of you m this ways p Who 
gent for the mean hounds," she promiscuously inquired, " to 
insult decent women, an their husbans away an earnin' of 
their livin' ? for three strars I would treat each on 'em to a 
mug of hot water." " And sarve 'em bloody* well right," 
exclaimed a livid-looking dame, who wore a porous shawl 
mantilla-wise, to screen a pair of eyes, which, if not boasting 
dark pupils, moved in the blackest of spheres. During the 
delivery of these spirited observations, the circle around us 

* I must be excused for the frequent use of this odious word in giving 
colonial dialogues, because general conversation amongst the middle and 
lower classes at the antipodes is ahrayB highly seasoned with it 


became perceptibly diminished, and Mrs. Molony, melting 
under the influence of the sympathy which her distresses 
evoked, squeezed a few drops of gin-and* water through her 
eyelids, receiving them at their confluence under her nose on 
the cuff of her pea-jacket. This affecting piece of pantomime 
precipitated the crisis, and only that we were enabled to 
burst through a weak place in the enceinte, we would have 
fallen into the hands of the enemy, and Heaven only knows 
what would have been our fate. Our retreat was the signal 
for an outburst of yells and screams that would have done 
credit to a Crow Indian warwhoop, and though there was no 
pursuit, a cloud of old boots, bottles, stones, and bottomless 
tin cans was discharged after us, but fell short of the mark. 
We charged straight across a swamp to the rising ground 
beyond it, and only ventured to glance round when we 
placed the morass betwixt us and the Amazons, who were 
still concentred in a formidable group, regarding their lost 

This rising ground was none other than Emerald Hill, 
christened from the rich verdure with which it is perpetually 
clothed. At that time it was very sparsely sprinkled with 
tents, with only one house on its eastern slope. This was a 
public-house called the Emerald Hotel, fronted with a deep 
verandah, under which a row of men, in digging costume, 
were taking their after-dinner smoke. I found, on inquiry, 
that it was principally resorted by the more respectable and 
quietly-disposed class of diggers, who, instead of spending 
their vacation amidst the scenes of riotous, drunken de- 
baucheiy of Melbourne, came over to board in this quiet, 
cleanly suburb. I ascertained, moreover, that close by 
there was a little street of weatherboard houses — the first 
erected there— and that probably they were not all let, 
as they were not all thoroughly finished. From the cha- 


racter of the neighbourhood I was desirous of securing 
a temporary resting-place in it, so I hurried across to the 
new buildings, where I was fortunate enough to find the 
landlord, and closed, without cavil, for one of the tenements, 
at the current rate of 4&1. per week, or 1Z. per week per room, 
such as they were. These houses, greedily snapped up at a 
rent equivalent to 208Z. per annum, were wretched hovels, 
roofed with rough shingles, which, although they led off the 
rain, allowed the wind and light to stream in through their 
interstices. The same description will suit the sides, on 
which the boards only overlapped enough to carry down the 
drip, though it frequently bubbled up in high winds, finding 
its way into the interior. The partitions were simply con- 
structed of sized long-cloth, which admitted the convenience 
of conversing with your neighbour without the trouble of 
leaving your own apartment. The arrangement, however, 
admitted of this indelicate drawback, that if your candle at 
bedtime happened to be extinguished first, you might pro- 
bably be Btartled by the Bhadowy phantom of Mrs. or Miss 
ABC, next door, in her night-dress, preparing for the 
stretcher. The floors, whether intentionally or not I can't 
say, were laid somewhat on the hencoop principle, so that all 
garbage or offal might fall through. I know that some of 
our knives, forks, and I think a blacking-brush, disappeared 
through these slender slits, which also admitted such copious 
currents of wind, that a long-six stearine rarely saw out our 
evening's repast. In fact, taking them for all and all, it 
would be considered at home cruelty to animals to use them 
as dog-kennels, and it would certainly vitiate a policy to 
force a person whose life you had insured to sleep in one of 
them for a single night. However, we were as proud and 
happy as possible in having even a shed in the colony that 
we could call our own, and we returned to the Emerald 


Hotel to thank the host for his information, and drink our 
first nobblers to the glory and greatness of the " new and 
happy land." By the directions of the landlord we took 
a new route to the city, across a watery flat leading to a 
ferry, where we paid sixpence for a passage, or about the 
rate of a halfpenny per boat's length. It was now getting 
duskish, and the day's work gave us a good appetite, which 
we went to appease in an eating-house in Great Collins- 
street East, a little below the level of the street. I thought 
I heard my friend — who was a member of the "Wyndham — 
heave a gentle sigh as, surveying the rough-and-ready din- 
ner apartment, he endeavoured to sidle into a seat opposite 
me, where we were obliged to dovetail as in an omnibus, 
the table betwixt us being barely broad enough to sustain 
the pair of half-wiped plates. "We ordered steak and pota- 
toes as the safest dish, and, while waiting for it — as we were 
not allowed any bread to pick at — we endeavoured to derive 
edification from the general conversation. One good-natured, 
communicative man in a jumper, who saw that our attention 
was directed to his box — moreover perhaps moved by the 
destitute appearance of our table, which was simply deco- 
rated with a single salt and an egg-cup of mustard — -jumped 
up with a bottle and glass, and insisted on our joining him 
in nobblers. As there might have been danger in declining 
the intuitive hospitality, we made a virtue of necessity, and 
swallowed the potions in so clean, off-hand a manner, as to 
charm the heart of our unknown entertainer, who smiled 
affectionately, shook our hands vehemently, exclaiming, in 
guttural ecstasy, " X-cuse me, gemmen — you're town folk 
— I don't make me money like as you do ; I makes mine by 
fair bloody diggin'." Saying which, he gave the bottle a 
flourish over his head that sent a shower of brandy about 
the room. 


Our dinner arriving at this juncture, he retired, with a 
propriety of demeanour scarcely to be expected. But how 
shall I attempt to describe the meal I have designated a 
dinner? Each plate contained a calcined lump of meat, 
which might have been flat in its raw state, bat was now 
shrivelled up into a black ball about the size of the eol<l 
potato beside it. Gravy there was none ; and so far from 
there being any succulence about the unsightly cinder, the 
fork went into it as if it was entering a rusk, causing a shed- 
ding of sooty scales about. There was no butter, and there 
was no use in complaint ; we, however, got a bit of gritty 
bread, and a glass of saccharine ale, as extras; the whole 
repast costing the small sum of 8s. 6d. As it was now 
late, and there was no possibility of getting aboard of the 
ship, even if we escaped being stuck up in the way to Sand- 
ridge, we set out in quest of beds. We first went to the 
Prince of Wales, where, with all the persuasiveness I 
could call up, I urged our outcast position : "Anything in 
the shape of a bed would be sufficient ;" but the landlord 
assured me there was neither bed nor sofa, nor any article of 
furniture that would stand in lieu thereof. Hie pointed, in 
proof of his inability to accommodate us, to the preparation 
then in progress in the little room behind the bar, where the 
children were being put on chairs in one corner, and a rude 
bed prepared for himself and his mistress in the other. Such, 
he declared, were the shifts to which they had been driven 
for some months, as respectable people could not venture 
into the second-class houses, in consequence of the scenes 
which were enacted there. No very hopeful prospect for us. 
He finally advised us to try the Fort Phillip Club Hotel, 
warning us to keep a sharp look-out, as sticking up was fre- 
quent even in the principal streets. To the Port Phillip we 
went, without better fortune, for the proprietor protested 

jl jsieHT bow. 59 

solemnly that every hearth-rag in the establishment was en- 
gaged. He recommended some other hotel, which we were 
unable to find, as the night was dark and rainy, and the 
miserable lamps barely afforded sufficient light to guard one 
from running against the posts on which they were perched. 
In this extremity we resolved, at all risks, to go into some 
public-house, get some drink, and manage to eke out the 
time on chairs or benches until morning. But this resolu- 
tion was more easily made than carried out. We called at 
one or two, and found them so crammed with crowds of cut- 
throat-looking ruffians, evidently acting in concert with 
parties of abandoned women of still more repulsive appearance 
who hung about the portals, that any extremity was prefer- 
able to such dangerous association. The third house we 
called at being less crowded, we went forward to the coun- 
ter, and ventured to order a couple of tumblers of hot toddy 
into the parlour. " No room inside ; so manage to toss it 
off where you are," said the landlord, impudently. We 
naturally declined, and were about going away, when the 
fellow jumped over the counter, got betwixt us and the door 
in a fighting attitude, and, flanked by two of his barmen, 
commenced a tirade of abuse : " You'll not come that game 
over me, you pair of bloody duffers. Come, pay your money, 

and then go to h , if you like." The row brought a 

mob of drunken men and women from the room, all of 
whom, individually and collectively, expressed their anxiety 
to adopt the host's quarrel, and "lamb us," without in- 
quiry, while at the same time an out-door reinforcement as- 
sembled, as the Crimean correspondent would say, "with 
the light of battle in their faces," for the landlords of 
public-houses could then always rely on a loyal muster of 
»wdy scoundrel, agrat any foe, but particularly a "lime- 
iuicer." Matters looked threatening, and it appeared we 


were about assuming colonial livery — black eyes and bloody 
noses. But, as the saying is, " the darkest hour is that be* 
fore dawn," so at the moment when our doom looked most 
imminent, our deliverance was at hand. " Bobbery ! Mur- 
der! Bobbery!" roared a man outside, which led to a 
rush and a street-scuffle that quite emptied the bar. At 
this juncture, a voice in tones of friendliness called softly, 
" This way, as you value your lives !" On looking round, 
we discovered an interesting young woman standing inside 
the counter, with the hinged part raised, beckoning us to 
come hurriedly through. She then led us to a side-door, 
and bade us follow the narrow street to the right, until we 
got to the wide one at the end. This proved to be Elizabeth- 
street, at its junction with the west end of Plinder's-lane, 
and close by the corner stood another public, with a quiet 
air, filled by a group of new comers inside, holdiDg little 
bundles or bags in their hands. "We joined them, in the 
hopeful anticipation that they had secured quarters ; but we 
were met on the threshold by the verdict of disappointment : 
" No room, nor no accommodation at no price." " Be so 
good," entreated a delicate young man, "as permit me to 
leave my carpet-bag until morning?" "No room, I tell 
you, for either baggage or passengers, if you paid a guinea 
an inch for it," replied the antipodean Boniface. Hotel- 
keepers, in those days, made no secret of their contempt for 
mere night-lodgers, or new chums who came to pile up money ; 
they courted the custom of old chum diggers, who delighted 
in knocking it down, and that class then not only abounded 
in numbers, but abounded in gold. Townships had not as 
yet been established on the different diggings, and licensed 
houses were few. Digging theatres or concert-rooms had 
not been started, nor any other species of local entertain- 
ment or amusement; so that lucky diggers, "up for a 


spree," as they called it, intent on making oblations to pro- 
pitious Fortune, came down to the capital, many of them 
making those vampire publicans their bankers, and remain- 
ing in town until their accounts came to be overdrawn — a 
consummation which arrived with bewildering rapidity under 
the system of double entry practised by these licensed 
worthies, who then turned out the digger with the same in- 
dignity they would a "lime-juicer." No wonder, then, 
that we could not find quarters ; and under the suggestion of 
one of the strangers, we were about adjourning in a body 
to the police-station, and asking permission to remain in the 
guard-house till morning, when a member of that force ap- 
peared, to give warning that the closing hour had arrived. 
"We stated our case to this functionary, who was good 
enough to say " he thought he could find us accommodation 
in a public lately opened, and not yet in brisk business," and 
he accordingly conducted us a considerable distance, through 
mud and dangerous water-holes, up the eastern end of 
IFlinder's-street, to the Duke of "Wellington, where at length 
we found shelter, but no softer bed than the dining-room 
table, on which we had our maiden dreams in the veritable 
El Dorado. 



Visit the Ship for the laat Time — Williamstown Boatmen — Sandridge 
Porters — Uniform Charge of One Guinea — Seizure of our surplus 
Stores — Commence Housekeeping — New AlHes — Woman's Skill in Do- 
mestic Economy — Household Arrangements — Our Neighbours — Colo- 
nial Mode of getting into the next House— Digger City Life — Female 
Relaxations — Division of Labour — The Victorian Panacea — A Ramble 
on Emerald Hill—The Multitude of Dental Surgeons— The Druggist's 
Shop — The Druggist's Suggestion — Diploma for Sale — The Druggist's 
Description of Colonial M.D.S and Chemicals — View from the Hill — 
Meet unexpectedly a Legal Friend— His Garb— His Dwelling— Hia 
Sketch of the Profession — First Evening at Home. 

The following morning we were astir early, our conches 
having no attraction, and being anxious, moreover, to catch 
the first downward trip of the Flying Fish, in order to pay 
our parting visit to the ship and get our luggage ashore. At 
"Williamstown we paused for a period on the pier, in expecta- 
tion of the captain's coming on shore, when we could secure 
a return passage. But we paid for our parsimony, for the 
cormorant boatmen, divining our motives, talked and sneered 
at us in so unmerciful a manner, that we reluctantly char- 
tered a craft at the small charge of one guinea to escape the 
verbal torture. 

"We were fortunate enough to find the captain on board, 
and he kindly lent us a boat and crew to land our goods and 
chattels, much to the disgust of the water-harpies, who calcu- 
lated on a thumping freight. On landing at Sandridge, I 




left H. in charge, and proceeded to hire a horse and dray at 
the cost of a guinea, though the distance to our new resi- 
dence was very little over a mile, and, as a matter of course, 
I expected the drayman to assist in carrying the luggage 
from the end of the pier. That functionary, however, enter-, 
tained quite a different opinion, for, in reply to my demand, 
he said, "Yes, I'll help you when you get it here" — a 
resolution which, I believe, he acted upon, not, perhaps, so 
much for his own ease as from a wholesome apprehension of 
interfering with the callings of the other industrious sharks, 
who were lying in wait all around for their special victims. 

Turning quite as much in wonder as disgust at the style 
and cost of doing business in the "new and happy land," I 
was accosted by a sort of sailor porter, with a truck, who vo- 
lunteered " to trundle our plunder" to the cart for the small 
but uniform sum of one guinea, which seemed to be the pre- 
vailing tariff for all jobs. However, we declined his services, 
as well as those of several other volunteers without trucks, 
and commenced operations ourselves, H. and my brother 
taking the smaller, while I shouldered the heavier articles, 
amongst which were a few three-dozen cases of Bordeaux, 
one of champagne, and one of brandy — surplus stores, which 
the pilot said we would be allowed to take with us without 
paying duty. It is needless to add that we were ironically 
complimented by the disappointed harpies on the pier for 
the style in which we bent to our work; and I think I would 
be doing them no more than justice in attributing to them 
the honour of a visit from a Customs official who had just 
arrived from Melbourne, and who relieved us of our wines 
and spirits, giving us to understand that we were to con* 
sider ourBelves under serious obligations to him for not con- 
fiscating our entire luggage. Arrived at our castle, my mates 
(the fashionable colonial term) employed themselves dia- 


posing our scant furniture, and I went and purchased a small 
load of green firewood for 37. 10s., a small barrel of water 
for 7s. 6d., and some other household necessaries at equally 
remarkable prices. While making my marketing, I was 
fortunate enough to encounter a decent married couple with 
a grown-up child, who were in quest of a room or two to 
lodge in, and, after a brief conference and reciprocal expla- 
nations, it was agreed between us that they should have a 
room free, with the use of the kitchen, if the woman under- 
took the housekeeping. This bargain was most gladly ratified 
by H. and my brother, who had been making futile experi- 
ments in the science of fire-lighting during my absence, and 
appeared rather disconsolate at the dim and distant prospect 
of dinner. Our new male ally returned to town for his 
baggage, and Mrs. W. set about her peculiar duties in a 
most cheerful manner, which soon imparted a hopeful aspect 
to our domestic affairs. It is really wonderful what the 
quick eye, the light touch, and provident tact of woman can 
accomplish in a household with even the slenderest stock of 
materials. A dish with a sunburst of plates, a few cups and 
saucers arranged in fantastic groups, a simple cullender, a 
glass salt and tin pepper-caster in anomalous positions, 
under her facile fingers invests a deal dresser with charms 
analogous to those of a sideboard surmounted with its buffet. 
The naked, cold hearth, too, assumes a tinge of the dear fire- 
side aspect, with its kettle, polished above the smoke line, 
simmering on the stove, the well-scoured flesh-fork and 
frying-pan hanging on either side, and the burnished fire- 
irons leaning familiarly against the rough mantel-post. Then, 
again, it is positively incomprehensible to witness the trans- 
mutation a naked room will assume under an equally simple 
and inexpensive process. A lumbering box, "not wanted on 
the voyage," looks quite debonair, plainly draped in printed 

woman's menage. 65 

calico. The military chest of drawers does duty becomingly 
as a chiffonier under a large white napkin, decorated with a 
cheap work-box, a scarlet pin-cushion, a few reels of cotton, 
and two blue sal-volatile bottles. The extemporised table 
looks quite distingue* robed in a figured cotton cloth, which 
serves by night as a counterpane ; while the dull, cold, cheer- 
less window, under the loop of a fancy shawl, laterally hung 
wity its deep fringes, and petticoated with a remnant of 
muslin, evokes the spirit, if not the substance, of comfort 
and coziness. Yes, 

Deai^woman we can't do without you, 
Whether good-humoured or coy, 

and it is really hard to conjecture what would have been the 
issue of our first essay at colonial housekeeping if we were 
left to our own unaided resources ; for, somehow or other, 
with all my prairie experience and long apprenticeship to 
tent life, I felt abroad in my efforts to do semi-civilised life 
on Emerald Hill. 

Our neighbours were for the most part new chums, with 
only an old colonial auctioneer and his family on the one 
side of the street, and a lucky digger, with a city wife, our 
next door neighbours, on the other. The auctioneer was 
constituted agent by the proprietor, and collected the rents 
weekly in advance — an occupation which he might readily 
have got through on each occasion in half an hour, but over 
which he invariably spent an entire day, as each receipt was 
ratified with a series of nobblers which sometimes necessi- 
tated him to have recourse to a succession of siestas before 
he could complete his round. The transaction of business 
with our digger neighbour was always protracted, and most 
generally uproarious ; so that, in the order of rotation, our 
rent, in nine cases out of ten, was paid over while Mr. ■■ , 
according to his own admission, was " rather tight." I re* 

vol. i. r 

66 Lira IN VIOTOUA. 

member that on one occasion, in a tipsy larch, he sal 
from the box, "not wanted on the voyage," into the next 
house, through the sized long-cloth, and when he got upon 
his legs he endeavoured to assume the same self-possession 
as if he made his entree through the door with a profound 
bow. After an intimacy of a few weeks, I presumed to re- 
monstrate with him about the strength of his habits, but he 
justified his propensity by informing me "that neat brandy 
was such an old enemy of his family, whenever he laid hands 
on it he showed it no mercy." The digger and his wife wese 
out of sight of the leaders of our circle. They had their 
evenings at home, and every day about noon a town clarence 
and pair drew up in the mud opposite their door, in which 
they took suburban airings, finishing up with a round of 
shopping at the favourite city taps, where they generally 
picked up some beery acquaintances, whom they brought 
home to the Hill for a strong tea, and sent back in the return 
coach, as soon as drunkenness supervened, to be delivered 
anywhere on the north side of Prince's Bridge. These jaunts 
cost them, on an average, at least five guineas a day. The 
days when the digger had a sick headache, and his lady for 
a little relaxation condescended to " get up a few of her light 
things," she always dressed for the washing-tub. Tying her 
long hair in a hard knot at the back of her head, and trans- 
fixing it with a huge gold pin with a father-o'-pearl head, she 
would then shake off her loose morning robe, and, having 
disengaged the body, get into the skirts of a satin dress, only 
slightly mottled with punch and mustard stains, but never- 
theless protected from suds spatters by a thick TwhU^* 
out into the form of a stomacher apron, concluding her toilet 
by clasping on a pair of massive bracelets, throwing a heavy 
watch-chain over her neck, and stuffing a carved timepiece 
into her virtuous bosom. Thus arrayed, I presume, to show 


her neighbours that she did not wash for filthy lucre or con- 
temptible economy, but only as a colonial substitute for 
crochet-work. I am aware that this sketch may appear over- 
drawn and over-coloured by the home reader, but I am 
equally satisfied that any one of early colonial experience 
has frequently witnessed scenes and occurrences fully as 
whimsical and outr£; and I solemnly declare that I have 
more than one dozen times seen the lady in question up to 
her elbows in soap-lather, attired literally in the costume I 
have endeavoured to describe. 

Our first afternoon was by no means as dull and tedious 
as might have been expected. Looking up our things, and 
exhuming those likely to be soon required, was not a dis- 
agreeable task for me and my brother; nor was the rig- 
ging up of lines in the rear, to air them, attended with 
either labour or tedium. I revived some of my backwoods- 
man's experience, by chopping up small wood and digging a 
channel to carry off a pool of water which was inclined to 
nestle under the stove, hissing and spitting steam angrily as 
hot embers dropped through the slits. Mrs. W. borrowed a 
huge tin, and got a beefsteak-pie under weigh, and Mr. W. 
returned early, having, in the exuberance of his satisfaction — 
at finding a decent domicile— laden himself with a curious 
variety of condiments, balancing the packet in which they 
were stared with that great colonial restorative in worldly 
disappointments, that antipodean elixir efficacious alike for 
healing enmities or ripening friendships, that Victorian 
panacea for all the " ills that flesh is heir to," a well capsuled 
flask-bottle of Mattel's brandy. 

Having finished my self-imposed task, finding it was too 
late for going into town, I set out for a stroll in the neigh- 
bourhood, taking out as a bosom friend and companion a 
small revolver, as " sticking up" was quite common even in 


68 lute nr victoeia. 

the mid-day in unfrequented places. I incline, however, to 
the belief that the majority of cases were perpetrated on 
drunken people, palpably incapable of offering any resistance, 
and that the smaller moiety were magnified from the rifling 
of prostitutes into the bloody robberies of sanguinary bush- 
rangers. Emerald Hill, in May, 1853, was a pleasing green, 
undulating eminence, without a single stone or brick edifice, 
and scarcely a dozen constructed of weatherboards. There 
were some few framed tenements covered with canvas, and 
a few common tents set up here and there on the great 
ground map of the future town, the lineaments of which were 
cut out in the sod, stretching away north and south, east and 
west, much further than the eye could reach. The tents there 
differed widely from those in Canvas Town, being neater and 
newer-looking, and the people inhabiting them were evidently 
a better and more orderly class. There was, comparatively, 
little squalor about them, and where there was a signboard, 
it was properly spelled. The only peculiarity I noticed was, 
that wherever I observed a business placard it invariably 
ended with a postscript, announcing that "teeth were ex- 
tracted inside," some " safely," others " expeditiously," but 
all " cheaply," on all of which points, especially the latter, 
I entertained strong doubts ; but the universality of the ad- 
vertisement impressed me with the idea that some epidemic 
destructive of those agents of mastication was prevalent in 
the colony. I could not help stopping to admire the drug- 
gist's little shop ; it was so trim and bright and dustless, 
and so attractively arranged, that I wagered with myself 
there was a lady in the establishment. It was very small, 
not more than six feet square in the clear, and about as many 
high, built of weatherboards, in front of a tent, which con-< 
stituted the household. Within, it looked as if three of its 
sides were dry-built, or compounded of drugs and chemicals 


contained in the multifarious fixed and movable articles of 
shop furniture ranged around. There was a basement of 
boards lettered and painted to resemble drawers, only want* 
ing the representative knobs for pulling them out ; upon this 
rested two courses of round white enamelled jars, neatly 
labelled in gold letters on a black ground; above them rose 
three graduated tiers of flint bottles of various hues, with 
glass stoppers ; then came a nice line of seidlitz powders in 
pasteboard boxes, all surmounted by a light cornice of small 
ointment pots and empty pill-boxes. The window, which 
occupied two-thirds of the front, contained in its centre one 
of the usual large globular bottles, filled with a liquid to 
match the emerald verdure of the Hill ; on either side of it 
stood two white jars marked " leeches," in plain black letters, 
one with its lid on, the other battened down with a piece of 
strained linen to show it was inhabited. The intervening 
spaces were improved by two crescents of pomade pots, bear- 
ing the distinctive appellations of " Genuine Bear's Grease," 
and " Balm of Columbia." Exactly beneath the large green 
bottle was a portable soda-water font, encased in wicker, 
flanked by a truss of new invention and a suspensory bandage 
of immemorial pattern. The inclined plane at the back was 
tastefully laid out in a parterre of patent medicines, in their 
party-coloured envelopes ; while at the extreme back were 
two bundles of " real Havannahs," in yellow ties, a square 
cheese of " bird's-eye tobacco," and half a dozen meerschaum 
pipes with amber mouthpieces, which, though apparently out 
of place, it appears were justified by the usages of colonial 

I was unable to resist the temptation of going inside on 
the pretext of taking a seidlitz powder, and the proprietor re- 
ceived me with a degree of astonished politeness as if I were 
his first customer : " Seidlitz powder, sir ? most certainly, sir. 


Just in time from that cold shower, sir. Strange country 
this, air ; winter in the middle of summer, sir." While weigh- 
ing the ingredients, for he did not break a box, I remarked 
on the internal arrangements, which were simply a nine-inch 
board covered with oil-cloth and skirted with green baize, 
in lieu of a counter; the half of an old mahogany writing^ 
case represented a desk ; an egg-cup of gum-water with a 
feather end, a small pestle and mortar, a pair of box 
scales, a penny ball of thin twine, and a lucifor-match 
box, completed the furniture. As there was no apparent 
aperture in the back of the tiny shop, I naturally sup* 
posed that the little druggist would have been constrained 
to dive under the counter in going round to the tent at 
meal times, but I was completely out in my conjecture, 
for when the Bochelle and soda were duly apportioned, 
he asked, through an auger hole, for a glass of water and a 
spoon, and in less than a minute one-third of the back of the 
shop gaped sufficiently to exhibit a pretty young woman, 
with a lavender coloured baby in her arms, and the required 
glass and spoon in her hand. The little druggist was quite 
pleased at my admiration, and explained the arrangement— 
"entirely his own idea;" and not having the "tincture of 
ginger" on the premiaea, he Buggeated a few drops of the 
" United Vineyard" in the draught. He took advantage of 
the shower to inform me that he paid 10s. per week for the 
stand, under terms to quit at six clear days' notice. He toW 
me that his prospects were " decent," but were aomewhgk 
damped by the premature death of the M.D. of the Hill, who 
" slipped through in delirium tremens." This brought to his 
mind the written advertisement that had parted from its 
wafers in the window, which he picked up as a happy thought, 
and placed in my hand with an expression of face capable of 
being translated into " the very thing for an intelligent new 

TICTOBIAK If .D.'s. 71 

chum ; it will suit you down] to the ground," watching me 
narrowly while I read as follows: 


The first class Dublin Diploma of the late Dr. T r. 

Apply to his disconsolate widow at the old Surgery 
in the Tent next the European National Restaurant, 

Clarendon Street, 

Emerald HDL 

Glancing my eye from the paper to the little druggist, as 
he thought inquiringly, he quickly asked me, " Would you 
like to find out the tent, sir ?" But was somewhat taken 
aback on my asking him in return, " For what purpose P" 
He, however, eventually admitted " that, in his opinion, a 
tolerably smart man, of good address and general knowledge, 
with a smattering of Latin, would make a fair average colonial 
doctor, as the country being new it was not troubled with 
any dangerous variety of diseases beyond dysentery, op* 
thalmia, rheumatics, and a few of a secret type ; now and 
then," he added, "a bad lying-in case occurs, but as the 
midwife is held responsible, the doctor need not be uneasy 
about the consequences." As further encouragement, " he 
assured me that there were several doctors and surgeons in 
and about Melbourne, in full practice, who never attended a 
lecture or smelt a subject, and more than one who com- 
pounded his own medicines, because he could not write a 
prescription." He also enlightened me concerning the 
genuineness of colonial drugs and chemicals, all of which, 
saving and excepting his own small stock, selected by himself 
and packed under his own eye, " had crossed the line as often 
as he had fingers and thumbs — ships' stores, the scrapings of 
old medicine-chests, quinine with as much tonic property 
as arrowroot ; blistering ointment as harmless as Windsor- 
soap, and everything else equally deteriorated by age, adul- 
teration, and exposure. I enjoyed my gossip with the little 


druggist, and bid him good evening, with the full intention 

of paying him an afternoon's visit now and then. 

I thence directed my coarse to the apex of the Hill, which 

commanded a fine view of the shipping in the bay and the 

nascent suburb of St. Kilda, of Sandridge, Williamstown, 

Footscrag, the southern slope of Melbourne, and the summit 

range of Collingwood. Heading back in the direction of the 

beefsteak pie, I passed a dilapidated booth-tent ticketed 

with a large square of pasteboard, containing the following 

inscription : 

Mb. C s P , 

Solicitor, Proctor, and Conveyancer, 

Office, No. — , Chancery Lane, 


Here was a coincidence. Could this be my young Mend of 
the same name P No, no ; I never heard him express an in- 
tention of throwing up a fair Dublin business and emigrating 
to Australia. True, it was over a year since I saw him, 
and many unexpected events occur within a twelvemonth. 
Stranger things often come to pass, however. During this 
soliloquy I detected the sharp edge of a profile peeping from 
behind the entrance fold of the tent, and presently, in a 
burst of recognition as if a film had fallen from his vision, 
the very man in proprid persond, but in a remarkably 
dishevelled condition, rushed out to welcome me to Australia 
Felix. He shook me by the hand with a vigorous tremu- 
lousness which argued a stutter in the wrist, and looked at 
me with an unsteady glistening stare, of which he seemed to 
be conscious, for he told me " he was still shaking off the 
dregs of a colonial fever." Of course I went inside, and of 
course the aspect of the interior was in keeping with the 
attire of the major-domo. He anticipated any remark about 
the general nakedness of the apartment, by informing me 
that he merely used it for sleeping, as he boarded with the 

LAWYEB8' peactice. 73 

respectable family in the next tent, who were people of excel- 
lent family, and did the thing in good style. The proximate 
cause, he told me, of his emigration, "was the infernal 
Encumbered Estates Bill, which drove all the old families to 
ruin, and destroyed his profession. He was deprived of 
three hereditary receiverships under the Court of Chancery, 
which had been in the family for years upon years, and 
brought business enough for his father's office and his own ; 
and the paltry squibs of new litigation, which mostly went 
off at a single hearing, were not enough to pay poor-rates," 
P— had come to the colony at a good juncture, when 
solicitors were scarce, business brisk, and money plentiful. 
He was doing a first-rate stroke when he got the first 
fit of colonial fever, which, it appears, is a dogged foe 
returning again and again to the attack. "An ordinary 
criminal case," he assured me, " was a good year's income, 
for a cut-throat-looking client in ragged apparel, by a simple 
surgical operation on his waistband, would half fill his hat 
with gold-dust, or extract from behind a patch on his coat a 
flake of fifty-pound notes that would paper a room — the one 
got on the gold-fields, the other on the highways. If there 
was an acquittal — which, for the sake of society, was not gene- 
rally desiderated — the enfranchised culprit rarely waited to 
enforce the striking of a balance ; and if justice overtook 
him, there was rarely an heir, administrator, or assignee to 
demand a taxation of costs. Thus all the plunder remained 
with the solicitor." He talked slightingly of civil business, 
as men in trade allowed no margin to professionals ; but he 
dwelt with unction on insolvency practice, which he desig- 
nated " tip-top work" — a game which, by " a little mutual 
dexterity, could be dealt with according to the pulse of the 
estate ;" and though the business was light and simple, the 
costs were in the inverse ratio — the " copper currency of the 


colony being exclusively confined to the payment of divi- 
dends, from the extreme liberality of the taxing system." A 
similar spirit, be assured me, prevailed in the granting of 
certificates, which he exemplified by a reference to his 
last case, where the insolvent returned: " Liabilities, 
5319J. lis. 3d. ; assets, 2W. 6s. 6d.; causes of insolvency, 
having accepted accommodation bills;" yet he obtained 
him a first-class certificate, u although it came out on the 
cross that he never paid one of the accommodation accep- 

I was obliged, from the lateness of the hour, to deny myself 
the instruction and amusement of listening to the citation 
of many more legal cases and anecdotes ; but as he promised 
to look in now and then of an evening, I made sure the 
treasure was in store for me. He followed me fifty yards, 
to say he would not be in his office in Chancery-lane until 
Monday, as I would see by the notice on the door that u he 
was in Geelong on business of importance ;" underlining the 
information with a prolonged wink. I found my domestic 
circle rather out of sorts, and even Mrs. W. under a 
passing cloud at having her first essay at cooking jeopardised 
by my overstaying the hour. But the pie was excellent, and 
the brandy as good in its way ; while the Utile stove became 
red hot, and warmed up the house in spite of the raw weather 
outside, so that the evening slipped over as agreeably as could 
be rationally expected. The programme for the next day waa 
— H. to call on two barrister friends and decide betwixt the 
diggings and the bar ; my brother to see if the lighter with 
his goods waa reported, and to look after a place of busi- 
ness ; and I made up my mind to call on an old friend, and 
then take the round of the Horse Bazaars to try and pick up 
a good hack to carry me on a tour of the gold-fields. 



Heavy Ram-— Hew Mode of Ferrying — A short Morning's Earnings— Morn- 
ing Levee at an MD/a— Aspect of the Surgery— Quality of the Patient! 
— Mistresses and Servants — Nonchalance of Servant-girliam — Groom's 
Duties — WM Sports of the West in Great Bonrke-street— Composition 
of the Frequenters of that Locality — Price of Victorian Oysters— A 
Glance at the Auction Marts — Abandon my Equestrian Ideas — Auc- 
tioneers' Profits—Horse planting — Estimate of Horse Keep— Encounter 
an English Taxftte late from the Levant— His Antipodean Ideas— The 
Bull and Mouth — The Goings-on there— The Profits — The Atmosphere— 
The prevailing Notions about Drinking — Fish, Fowl, and Vegetables — 
Truant Hen— The County Court— Style of Practice— Auction Marts for 
Merchandise — House Kant— Big Clarke — Fortunes made under Con- 
straint — Instance given — Break up the Emerald Hill Establishment. 


Thehb was a very heavy fall of rain throughout the night, 
and next morning, in attempting to cross the cricket-ground 
to the ferry, on our way to the city, we got half-leg deep in 
the edge of a wide drain, which compelled us to retrace onr 
steps, and go round by Prince's Bridge. But here again 
we were confronted by a formidable obstacle, caused by a 
quick <tip in the half-made road, through which the rising 
waters were rushing with the velocity of a mill-sluice. One 
or two tint fellows in thigh boots attempted fording it with- 
out success, and as every minute brought up some fresh 
persons bound for Melbourne, there was a considerable con- 
gregation at the expiration of a quarter of an hour, without 
any improvement in the prospect of getting over the torrent, 
so that a large section were on the eve of returning to the 


Hill and to Sandridge, when the quick eye of a wood-carrier 
descried our helpless situation from the bridge. "With colo- 
nial intuitiveness, he saw his way to a smart morning job, 
and throwing his load by the road-side he came to our 
relief, his terms being Is. per head for the passage. No one 
demurred or hesitated, and as I did not happen to get 
amongst the first or second batch, I amused myself in com- 
puting his earnings. There were sixty-seven people all told, 
realising the sum of 3?. 7s. for an occupation of some five- 
and-twenty minuteB, and so far from evincing any emotions 
of thankfulness on the occasion, he declared "we were a 
bloody rubbishy gang of lime-juicers" for not remaining and 
helping him to reload. 

According to arrangement, "we three" parted on our 
several avocations. I went to call on my friend, a medical 
man, whom I found encircled by a morning levee of motley- 
looking patients, none of them, that I heard, complaining of 
internal maladies, but all of them exhibiting surface indica- 
tions of their afflictions. Here, again, I had evidence tend- 
ing to refute the complaint of any inequality of the sexes, 
for both seemed to muster in pretty equal proportions. 
Leeches and diachylon were the sanitary agents most in re- 
quisition, and if a stranger looked over the floor before sur- 
veying the remainder of the apartment, he would come to the 
conclusion it was a barber's shop, from the numerous long 
locks and stubbly patches of hair which were strewed around 
the operating chairs. From the number of fresh patients 
constantly arriving, my friend asked me to go inside and 
announce myself to the family, as he did not expect a respite 
until the mayor's court rose, for it appeared that these 
numerous and profitable morning calls were all comprised of 
the lock-ups of the previous night, come to undergo repairs 
after their fines and liberation. 


I here ascertained that though matters were just then 
getting easier in the domestic and household world, mis- 
tresses were still obliged to do a portion of the drudgery — 
something, too, beyond the light pastry-making, and the 
Italian ironing of their own frills and raffles. The waiting- 
maid, I observed, had much more the air of a lady's com- 
panion than a regular servant, attending table as if she were 
doing extraordinary duty for the nonce, and, as I under- 
stood, " on doing up the parlour after luncheon," if so in- 
clined, went out to shop, or make calls, without the embar- 
rassing ceremony of asking permission. If mildly remon- 
strated with for not being home in time to prepare for dinner, 
it was then the invariable custom of well-bred servants to 
give immediate notice ; and Miss M. assured me a lady 
friend of hers, on ringing for " Mary" to say that " a few 
friends were coming to tea this evening," was sulkily re- 
proved by that obedient domestic for not giving earlier 
notice, "as she, too, had an express engagement for the 
entire afternoon." I was present myself the next day when 
the doctor's groom, whose wages were at the rate of 801. per 
annum, together with keep, refused to take a cart down 
town for a few bags of bran, declaring " it was no part of his 
duty," and there was no alternative but to submit to this 
menial tyranny, for it took perhaps weeks to secure an 
equally expensive and impudent substitute. 

All the horse and cattle-yards were then, and still are, 
clustered in the western hill of Great Bourke-street, lately 
depicted in Melbourne Punch as the district of " The "Wild 
Sports of the West." A pedestrian who in those days 
ventured into that street would have had as little chance of 
escape aB an amateur campaigner who hazarded a crossing 
during the Balaklava charge, for what with mobs of wild 
colts and herds of mad cattle fresh from the Bush, driven 

78 lite nr viotobia. 

frantically backwards and forwards by yelling stockriders, 
endeavouring to force them into the various auction marts 
in the teeth of other mobs and herds rushing out of those 
zoological emporiums; what with crowds of half-broken 
horses under trial in harness, interspersed with buckjumpero 
under saddle, and plunging brutes in the lunge, all weaving 
unravellable bird-cradles of reins, ropes, and traces, only 
to be rent in fragments by stolid bullock teams, charging 
under the thongs and curses of their semi-civilised drivers, 
into shattering collision with training-breaks and straggling 
tandems ; while seas of deranged sheep, broken into isolation, 
were all the time bounding up in the midst like patches of 
foam in a maelstrom, — this western hill of Great Bourke was 
caviare to the multitude, only wanting a sprinkling of camels, 
dromedaries, and elephants to render the chaos perfect and 

On my way up from Elizabeth-street to Bear's-yard, at 
the corner of Queen-street, I was in a constant state of 
wholesome apprehension, and was frequently carried, with 
my own consent, by the reflux of the populace, into the 
lower end of some shop or tavern. The populace, I should 
remark, were composed, for the most part, of men from the 
country in jumpers and cabbage-tree hats, big boots, and 
stumpy spurs, prowling team dealers in the slang casta-off of 
London livery grooms, bullock punchers with their long- 
handled, and stockriders with their short-handled, scourges, 
auctioneers' touts, with a sprinkling of second-class squatters, 
and lucky diggers, all either vomiting smoke or swallowing 
brandy. I ploughed my way with difficulty to the yard, in 
which I was told I would be most likely to suit myself but 
entrance was out of the question — the London Pocks were 
never more closely jammed with ships than it was with horse 
and bullock teams in its wider area, or with carts, coltB, 


horses, and mares in the other division, the space about the 
oblong sale shed being so closely packed with buyers and 
sellers that when a highest bidder was called upon for a 
deposit, he could rarely get his hand out of his pocket with- 
out waiting an undulation of the throng. I stood for some 
time outside, in the lower part of the railing, and while 
gaining a slight knowledge of the state of the horse market, 
I had also an opportunity of learning the price of Victorian 
oysters, as along the footpath fronting the yard on the 
Bourke-street side, there was a close row of hand-carts and 
portable stalls piled with cones of this fish, of a small and 
flabby kind, which, however, found eager customers at 3s. 6d. 
per dozen, with a dash of dirty vinegar and macadamised 
pepper in. 

After a considerable delay, watching for an opportunity, 
I got across the street to another mart, more in the horse 
line — M'Caw and Austin's — where I saw some magnificent 
Van Diemen's Land draught horses selling at prices varying 
from 180/. to 2202., some neat harness horses from 752. to 
1002., but as there were not any saddle horses on the day's 
sale list, I moved a little lower down to Watson's, late 
Kirk's, a yard exclusively confined to horse sales, the head- 
quarters of the sporting characters of the colony, so that 
nags in any Bhape, from the race-horse to the road hack, were 
sure to be found there. As good luck ordered it, I was 
recognised by a Mr. C, a young Scotch gentleman who 
came out to the colony in 1847, and was then part proprietor 
of a station in the Wimmera, where he gained a host of 
general experience, which he placed at my service. After 
learning the programme of my immediate project, he strongly 
dissuaded me from purchasing a horse, as it would require a 
considerable outlay to begin with, entailing, besides, a very 
heavy daily expense— for a short time only, as the animal 


would be either stolen or planted* within a week, and even if 
I proved fortunate enough to preserve him, his keep, on my 
contemplated tour, would very soon exceed his cost, as the 
rate of livery in the diggings districts was two guineas a 
night. His advice was to travel with my walking-stick and 
revolver, without any change but a pair of socks, as the 
other coarse things that I might require from time to time 
could be had in the gold-fields, and should they cost a little 
extra, it would be better to rest satisfied than submit to the 
expense and inconvenience of having a valise hawked about 
the country. I at once adopted his counsel, which was not 
only sound and economical, but more to my taste, as it left 
me free from anxiety, and wholly unencumbered, to rove 
and remain wherever I thought it most likely to glean 

He then enlightened me on the business of auction marts 
for the sale of horses and working oxen, which shows the 
facility with which fortunes can be accumulated in that 
calling. The rules are to pay 5s. when the animal is entered 
on the sale list of the day, and after the sale the purchaser 
pays ten per cent, for a guarantee that it is not a stolen one, 
while the vendor has ten per cent, deducted from the pur- 
chase-money as a commission. The entrance fees, it is com- 
puted, pay the yard expenses of the day, so that the twenty 
per cent, goes as clear gain into the auctioneer's pocket. 
Messrs. Bear and Son, in 1853 and 1854, very frequently 
disposed of over 5000Z. of stock in a day's sale, and it would 
be rather understating their daily average to place it at 
3000Z., which, however, would produce an income of 60W. 
per day, 3600Z. per week, or 187,200Z. per annum, from this 
one branch of their business alone. The other auction marts, 

* Planting is a branch of colonial horse traffic, which consists in first 
stealing a horse, and, as soon as the reward for his recovery is offered) 
planting or placing him in a place where the thief pretends to have found 
him accidentally. 


taking one with another, might be safely set down at about 
one-third Messrs. Bears' average, which, however, realised 
yearly aggregates compared to which those of Mr. Tattersall, 
Aldridge, or the proprietor of the Barbican, would look very 
small indeed. There is another class of auctioneers and 
salesmen who make prodigious incomes from the sale of fat 
and store cattle, and sheep and stations, but, as they sell in 
lump or lots, they only charge five per cent. — a pretty smart 
charge, too, on the sale of a station carrying forty thousand 
sheep, which is negotiated during a very brief morning's inter* 
view, leaving the afternoon for the sales of fat cattle, where the 
great master butchers buy up the lots, however large. The 
aggregate sales of the three principal firms, Messrs. Power 
and Butherford, Bow and Golsborough, Kaye and Butchart, 
sometimes exceed 20,0002. for fat and store cattle. All got 
through in the space of an hour, the vendor, paying the com- 
mission of five per cent., either taking the acceptance of the 
firm at three months, or cash less the discount, the purchaser 
paying cash on delivery, or an approved bill at three months, 
including discount — an arrangement, working with a double 
purchase, fully equivalent to an additional five per cent, com- 

As a colonial curiosity, Mr. C m computed in the fly- 
leaf of his pocket-book the expense of keeping a horse at 
that period, and I annex the figures correctly copied : 

£ 8. d. 
Hay, at 40/. per ton, 101b. per day at 4£d., 3s. 9cL, 

or per year 68 8 9 

Oats, at 20s. per bushel (very low), 141b. per day, 7s., 

or per year 127 15 

Straw, at 15s. per cwt., 1 J ton for a year's consumption 22 10 

Shoeing, at 30s. per set, removing 15s., per year . 27 

Groom's wages 80/., keep 30/. 120 

Stable rent 25 

Stable furniture, veterinary, &c 5 

Saddles, bridles, whips, spurs, &c 10 

Interest, at 10 per cent, on cost of horse . . . 10 

415 13 9 
TOL. I. Q 


Only 151. odd above the "competence" prayed for by a 
maiden lady of respectability, who, to prevent a misunder- 
standing of her orisons, informed the lord that she meant 
400Z. a year paid quarterly. 

While in conversation with Mr. C m , we were backed 
into a heap in amongst some empty vehicles by the rearing 
and plunging of an unbroken colt, about being brought up to 
the pulpit. I was thrown off my legs rather heavily on a gen- 
tleman who was completely prostrate, and on getting into a 
position to apologise, I recognised a fast turf amateur who 
was missed from the " sweet, shady Bide of Fall-Mall " after 
Teddington's Derby victory. He recognised me at the same 
moment, and, although in the old country we were only 
known to each other slightly, he grasped my hand in a frenzy 
of delight on recovering to a sitting posture, which enabled 
me to pull him to his legs, when he again repeated the shake, 
exclaiming, " Bless my soul, who could have thought of seeing 
you here ! Gome out to write something smart about the 
country, eh P like your Californian Excursion. Deuced ex- 
traordinary place— capital for a change, excellent for a visitor, 
but horrid for what they call a lifer. People say everything 
here is topsy-turvy, but it appears to me that falling-due 
bills cause a sensation precisely similar to that in the old 
country. One, however, has somewhat of a pull, for they 
don't require stamps, which tell up confoundedly in renewals. 
Had at one time a notion of trying the diggings for a lark, 
but am now determined to reserve myself for Government, 
and lend a hand whenever it is hard up. "Will take you to 
my little place in Prahran one of these days, when I get 
settled, but only moved in yesterday. See you here to- 
morrow at sale time. G-ood-by for the present." 

Mr. C— m walked out of the yard with me to put me in 
the route to the County Court, where I was to meet H. by 


appointment. He took me a few short detours to see some of 
the minor lions, the Bull and Mouth to begin with, the great 
popular central tap of the day, in what may be called Mid- 
Bourke-street, the nucleus of the vast subsequent cab and 
omnibus innovation, and then a favourite rallying-point, from 
its contiguity to the Post-office, the close neighbourhood of 
rifle-galleries, bowling-saloons, and billiard-tables. The bar 
was really a sight for a stranger, with its close-packed crowd 
in front, skirted by outsiders, who were served out over the 
hats of the inner ranks. Effervescing drinks frequently boil- 
ing over in the transit, and nobblers overturning in trayfuls 
on the brandy-proof heads of the indifferent multitude. 
Whenever a man fell or retired, the gap was filled up like 
magic by a fresh customer, so that the demand never flagged, 
the tide never ebbed, the fusillade never intermitted: 
" Nobblers for five !"— •" Six ales !"— " Bounds of Old Toms !" 
— " Whiskies neat !" " Nobblers," " Toms," " Ales," with 
only an ever-varying transposition in precedency, continued 
without ceasing, at the uniform rate of one shilling, all day 
long. Then there were sliding panels at the back communi- 
cating with the eating-rooms, where crescents of empty trays 
were always waiting for repletion, and large pigeon-holes, 
too, at the side, opening into the hall, beset with shoulder- 
ing groups, like the South Eastern Bailway ticket apertures 
on the Derby day. The upper apartments were as fully oc- 
cupied as those below, if I might judge from the torrents of 
waiters of both sexes rushing down or sidling up in obedience 
to the law of demand and supply, the stair steps positively 
dripping alcohol, and the dropsical oakum mat at the bottom 
squirting intoxicating juices under every tread. The lower 
atmosphere was one of spirituous essences, as dense as a 
Scotch mist, which I verily believe would inebriate a person 
of weak constitutional powers, and over it rolled, in murky 



curls, a thick fog of vile tobacco-smoke that would poison a 
rookery. C m assured me they often received as much 
as 5001. per day — two-thirds profit — and that the good-will 
of the concern, with only a two years' lease to run, would 
fetch 12,000Z. As we were about moving on, a passenger in 
a Sandridge omnibus was profanely addressing the bloody 
eyes of the driver for not starting, but the artist in question 
retorted on the soul of the plaintiff, refusing to " budge an 
inch until he got his nobbier, as there was no place to get 
another drain 'tween there and the pier," an interminable 
drive of a mile and a half. I mention the circumstance as a 
faint illustration of the prevailing thirst for strong drinks, 
which seemed to me to be indulged in nearly as much from 
a notion that they are indispensable to health as from actual 
appetite, until the habit becomes inveterate and invincible. 
I remember a certain bootmaker in the Haymarket afflicted 
in a similar manner, whom the Liberator used to drop in on 
occasionally, assured of his joke. " "Well, Mac," the great 
Dan would say, in his one rotundo accent, " how are you this 
morning ?" " Ah, Liberator," Mac would plaintively reply, 
" I would get on well enough, but this whisky is killing me ;" 
as if the poor man was condemned to swallow daily hourly 
doses of Innishonen, and was outside the pale of all condo- 
nation, or forbidden to expiate the decree by any other 
species of penance. Many, perhaps a majority, in Victoria 
drink from an inherent love of spirits, but many drink " for 
company's sake," or to counteract the evaporating influences 
of the climate, acquiring a habit from custom, and not from 
constitutional tendency. 

"We next looked into a fish-shop, a wretched little place, 
most wretchedly supplied both in quantity, quality, and 
variety : a few flat-heads — a fish that would be thrown over- 
board in the English or Irish Channel — a few guard-fish — a 


delicate fish averaging nine inches in length, as thick as a 
man's finger, with a beak, or bill, not included, about as long 
as that of the common snipe — these marine rarities fetched 
6s. per dozen — and two or three snappers, an uncoutb, scaly 
monster, ugly to look at and woolly when boiled, whicb, from 
the scarcity of Bupply, commanded absurd prices. The turn 
of the next street brought us in front of a general provision 
store, with a falling shutter to the window, on which were 
arranged a small assortment of the few vegetables then raised 
in the colony, and a small basket of eggs ; a few pendent 
fowl, divested of feathers, were suspended from the door- 
jambs, and a few with intact windpipes were crammed under 
the counter, which was fitted up as a coop. In this 
establishment, during my brief sojourn, I saw common cab- 
bages sell at 2s. 6d. each, one moderately good cauliflower at 
5s., a pair of plucked fowl at 30s., half a dozen eggs at the 
rate of 18s. per dozen, and a turkey refused at the offer of 
21. 10s. The potatoes were ticketed at 6d. per lb., and the 
live fowl priced according to condition. I also saw a decent 
woman handling and bargaining for a pair which she said she 
wanted to keep for laying, but one of them took wing 
during the manipulation and got into the street, to which 
she called the proprietor's attention ; but his notice of the 
occurrence was " 24s. the pair — you look after the outsider ;" 
and he insisted on the money, too, compelling the poor 
woman to follow the truant or rest content with the loss. I 
may also remark, in illustration of colonial independence in 
1853, that the gentleman who purchased the plucked fowl, 
waiting for his opportunity, observed to the dealer, " Perhaps 
you would be good enough to send home my fowl by a mes- 
senger." "Messenger! sir," said he — "messenger! I know 
of no such a person hereabouts." 

Our next move was up the hill of a narrow street, in the 


direction of a small gathering of people in front of a dirty, 
dusty, uninhabited-looking house, where C m took his 
leave, announcing, " This is the County Court." I thought 
at first it was a mild practical joke, but was at the same mo* 
ment convinced to the contrary by a bareheaded man rush- 
ing recklessly down the narrow stairs to the front door, and 
shouting out in tones of exaggerated human thunder, " Jones 
agin O'Shaughnissy ! Jones agin O'Shaughnissy! Jones 
agin O'Shaughnissy ! cuminappear, or be struck out o' the 
list!" This proclamation was followed by a alight move- 
ment, in which a small, perky man, with a bag but without 
a wig, hastened up-stairs, with a train of five persons, whom 
I set down as witnesses, followed by an unctuous-looking 
whipper-in, or whipper-up, attired in undeniable Chancery- 
lane costume. I made an effort to squeeze after them 
through the little narrow, dingy hall, which was papered 
over above shoulder-line mark by cause-lists, old and late, 
notices of sale under decrees of the court, schedules of gene- 
ral rules, with daily interpolations, as if the rules of to-day 
would not suit for to-morrow. I also noticed attorneys' 
addresses, barristers' removal of chambers, scriveners' charges, 
and bailiffs' whereabouts. After considerable delay and ex- 
ertion, I got as far as the little first landing, where I was 
obliged to flatten into a corner, to let the victorious 
O'Shaughnissy it ea stream down in the glory of a nonsuit 
point, which had been just ruled in their favour. My next 
start brought me to a little lobby, with three doors, the left 
one opening into a closet-room, hung with cobwebs, set 
apart as a robing-room, the one on the opposite, somewhat 
less frequented by spiders, leading into the retiring-room of 
the judge, while that in front constituted the entrance to 
the august court, where the blindfolded lady with the scales 
was not enabled to take up her position over the judgment- 



seat, because there was not sufficient room for her to stand 
erect between his honour's head and the coved ceiling. 
The body of the court was the whole breadth of the apart- 
ment, sixteen feet by a depth of five feet, separated by a 
rough-and-ready railing from the interior, which occupied a 
apace below the bench of about sixteen feet by twelve. 
Immediately inside the railing was a narrow oblong perch, 
fronted by a table for solicitors, and a removed school-bench 
in front of that, for barristers, who, when mustering strong 
— that is, eight or nine — occupied also the step of the bench, 
one perhaps squeezing on to the edge of the chair beside the 
associate. Along the windows there was a mammoth desk 
—never made to order — for reporters ; and, opposite, an old 
mantelpiece, on which the familiar Bible most generally 
rested. There was no ventilation; and although the day 
was a raw one outside, in this den of justice the atmosphere 
was nothing better than an oleaginous vapour, scented with 
essence of tallow and otto of brandy. I had not patience to 
remain many minutes in the rancid vapour-bath, but even 
daring my brief stay I was enabled to jot down a legal note, 
worth recording as a specimen of forensic curtnesa current 
in Victoria. A witness, under cross-examination by a bar- 
rister, now a popular and most excellent judge, was asked, 
" Were you present at the bargain about the price of the 

horse ?" " No, but I heard " Barrister : " Keep your 

hearsay evidence to yourself." Witness: " Smith told--— " 
" I want no tales — shut up." Which is equivalent to the 
" Go down" of Westminster Hall, but in my mind incom- 
parably more comprehensive. H. whispered me to say he 
would remain until the rising of the court, as he had already 
elected to try the Bar in preference to the Diggings. 

I then went in quest of my brother, and found him in 
s's auction-room, making terms for the advertisement 


and sale of his goods expected up river that evening. He 
was particularly gleesome, as his merchandise was well 
assorted, accurately suited to the juncture and the season, 
particularly the waterproof clothing, heavy boots and shoes, 
harness and saddlery, which, on an average, were quoted at 
prices that would realise 150 per cent, clear profit, command- 
ing a ready sale. The terms were 5 per cent, commission, 
to which at least 2£ more might be safely superadded 
to cover extras, as the expense of advertising alone was a 
most formidable charge. In many of the second-class marts 
there was a very serious drawback, from the premeditated 
procrastination in preparing and rendering account sales, in 
many instances extending over months, during which the 
auctioneer put out the customers' money to fructify for his 
own benefit, reaping no inconsiderable benefit, when twenty- 
five per cent, interest was the prevailing rate outside the 
bank parlours. This complaint, however, could not be urged 

against the Messrs. S bs, whose zeal and promptitude in 

the discharge of their duties always kept their hands full and 
their customers steadfast. The auction-rooms of that day, 

with the exception of those of Messrs. S bs, and S n, 

and P y, were nothing better than tumble-down make- 
shifts ; but the amount of property that daily changed hands 
within their portals was something approaching the fabulous, 
all the more incredible when computed in comparison with the 
population of Victoria, not then amounting to the number 
of inhabitants in a third-rate British city. 

Before starting for home, I went to inspect and give my 
opinion on the eligibility of some small premises, under offer 
to my brother until ten o'clock the following morning. They 
consisted of a small two-storied brick house and yard, in 
a back slum called Bank-place, behind the Bank of Austral- 
asia, approached from Collins-street by a stile. The house 


contained two rooms below, twelve feet by six feet, cut up 
by a staircase ; two above, twelve feet by ten feet, finished in 
the rudest style, and a filthy yard, occupying an area about 
as large as that on which the house stood. There was a 
seven years' lease to run, and the terms were 450/. per 
annum rent, with a fine of 500/. He closed for this con- 
cern, and shortly afterwards covered the yard with a stone 
and mud store, at an outlay of 7002., when he was offered 
22007. to walk out and give up possession. This single 
case may enable the reader to form a conception of the scale 
of rents, and the value of property in Melbourne at that 
period, but I will give a few others within my personal 
knowledge, one a fancy warehouse in Great Bourke-street, 
let at 40002., in which a large fortune was made under the 
incubus ; the other, the auction mart of Messrs. Francis and 
Cohen, in Collins-street, rented at 50002. from Mr. W. J. T. 
Clarke (commonly known as " Big Clarke," the landed levi- 
athan), who purchased it at the prodigious sum of 23,1002., 
or 7002. per foot frontage, with a depth of 168 feet. Many 
wise people — that is, wise in their own estimation — shook 
their heads portentously when they heard of the price, pro- 
phesying that Mr. Clarke's monomania for landed property, 
like that of Napoleon for empire, would eventually crumple 
up the big man of Victoria. But Mr. Clarke does not buy 
at random, or with his eyes shut : he generally makes his 
great purchases under a species of prearrangement, which 
almost exclude them from the category of speculations, and 
in the instance adduced, he had pretty well secured unde- 
niable tenants at a rent of 50002. per annum, on a seven 
years' lease ; so that at the end of the term, and allowing 
7£ per cent, interest on the purchase-money, he will have 
the property for nothing. 

But although Mr. Clarke did not lay the foundation of 


his princely fortune at hap-hazard, there are many of the 
miltionnaires of Melbourne who came into their vast posses- 
sions not merely by the caprice, but, as it were, under the 
coercion of fortune, never even entertaining the faintest 
foreshadowing of their luck until it became fully and intrin- 
sically realised, far more miraculously and less deservedly 
than Lord Byron's morning fame. Port Phillip had been 
but gradually and slowly recovering from her prostrate and 
insolvent condition of 1842, when the news reached Mel- 
bourne of the discovery of gold in New South "Wales, and so 
slightly had the bulk of its inhabitants tasted of the cup of 
prosperity, and so little faith had they in their contest for 
progress, or supremacy with mutton against gold, that a 
mania for removal set in, and most of those who had money 
left precipitately, and many of those who had their 'nice 
patches of city property disposed of it without reference so 
much to its value as to its capability for transporting their 
families to the modern Opbnv Under this, auri sacra fames, 
innumerable small lots, making, in their aggregate, immense 
breadths of property, were sold at nominal prices in the 
early part of 1851, which, ere its close, were " pearls beyond 
price," translated into the seventh heaven of appreciation by 
the fortuitous discovery of the Balkrafc shepherd. I know 
the particulars of numerous cases of constrained fortune ; 
one t will relate, which occurred in the person of an humble 
man from my native, country, who accumulated a very 
modest competence in Melbourne under the old regime- 
first by manual labour, and then by carting at the moderate 
rates of the day. He purchased a town lot in Swanston- 
street, and erected a wooden house on it, in which, during 
the progress of his industrial prosperity, he opened a little 
shop for the good woman. His decent thrift was as remark- 
able as his industry, so that, in homely phrase, " he got the 

^wi—uujm ■■- i ....wmm*mtm*^m^^^^mmm^mmmmu^^mi^mi^m—mmm*mmm!W 


name of having a little dry money always by hiin ;" and at 
the period in question he was beset by importunate neigh- 
bours and friends, imploring him, as he intended remaining, 
to purchase their town allotments at his own price. In 
some cases he yielded, not so much with the view of bene- 
fiting himself as of helping a few friends on the road to for- 
tune, and, much against his own wish or conviction, he se- 
cured for some 4502. property which in less than fifteen 
months he sold for 15,0002., and which was resold, within 
the subsequent year, for nearly three times that amount. 
Had my humble countryman purchased to the full amount 
of his means, and held over like other stay-at-home towns- 
men, he might be now side by side in the Legislative 
Council of Victoria with another Sligo man, who came to 
Port Phillip without any capital but his brains and his 
hands, but who is reputed at present as possessed of pro- 
perty worth half a million sterling. 

But as I have much more to say about sudden acquisition 
and the unprecedented advance in the value, or rather the 
price, of town and suburban property, I will close this 
chapter by observing that the determination of H. to com- 
mence practice obliging him to take an office in town, and 
the removal of my brother from the premises in Bank-place, 
led to the break-up of our establishment en Emerald Hill, 
which then passed into the sole possession of the W. 

92 life nr victobia. 


Saturday in Melbourne— House Rents in 1858— The Chancery-lane of Vic- 
toria — Its Denizens — The Barristers and Attorneys of that Day — Con- 
trasts of their domestic Menage — Foot-note — Newspapers of the Day — 
John Pascoe Fawkner, Esq. — His Pen-and-ink Newspaper — The Adver- 
titer — Extract from that original Periodical — Its first Issue in Type — 
Leading Article — Advertisement — Extinction of the Advertiser — New 
Journal — Reappearance of the Advertiser — Glance at the Career of J. P. 
Fawkner— Herald and Argus— Wonderful Start of the Argus on the Gold 
Discovery— Struggles of the Herald— Success of its Contemporary — Their 
common Creed — Different Manner of instilling their Doctrines — Argus 
Persecution of Governor Latrobe — His Antecedents— His Qualification — 
Great Difficulties of his Position— Released from the Pillory by the 
Arrival of Mr. Secretary Foster— Argus Politics the Politics of Men. 

Saturday in Melbourne is a half-holiday. The banks 
close at twelve o'clock ; merchants come into town without 
any idea of heavy business ; shopping is carried on with a 
degree of languor, as if it was out of season ; and even pro- 
fessional men — always excepting the doctors — seem unpre- 
pared to immerse themselves in abstruse research. I came 
into town to see my brother's bargain ratified, and had a 
fresh evidence of the fictitious value of property in Mel- 
bourne, and the great insufficiency of accommodation for the 
spring tide of population which had set in, in the rent he 
obtained for his rooms the moment he got into possession. 
H. and a brother barrister took a large and a small one at 
4Z. and 27. per week ; Messrs. S. and A. the other large one 
at 4J. ; and he retained the other as an office and sleeping- 


apartment, the rent of the three rooms let, covering his 
entire rent and taxes. Bank-place (the name of the locality) 
runs into Chancery-lane, the focus of the long-robed gentry ; 
and both it and all the surrounding lanes, alleys, and pas- 
sages are a sort of legal warren, burrowed by barristers, at- 
torneys, commissioners for taking affidavits, official assignees, 
law stationers, scriveners, and engrossers, frequented by an 
ebbing and flowing stream of litigious citizens, as well as 
isolated loungers in cracked hats and shiny coats, ready to 
Bolder up any broken chains of important evidence, or under- 
take any other behests, growing out of the great palladium 
of British liberty and independence, for a proper considera- 
tion. At that time, barristers, taken as a whole, appeared 
to be the inferior class, so far as worldly adjuncts and ap 
pearances went. He was considered a swell in his way who 
could manage a room large enough to admit of having his 
stretcher and its appurtenances screened off by a soiled 
counterpane. But, for the most part, they hunted in 
couples, and one would be sitting on the edge of his bed, 
silently picking the demurrable points out of a bill in equity, 
while his brother's pen would be galloping over the brass 
nails of his trunk, taking down instructions for a plea at 
common law from a patronising attorney. And while bar- 
risters eked out a fly-blown existence in their dens, confined 
to the female society of their charwomen, attorneys lived in 
style in country villas, driving smart gigs, or riding neat 
hacks, to their well-furnished offices of mornings, now and 
then of Saturday evenings taking out their favourite court 
men in return for a nice point saved, or a successful new 
trial motion, to give them a blow-out on poultry and vege- 
tables after a long course of tough chops and sodden steak.* 

* Let it not be supposed, however, that even in 1853 there were not a 
select few far in the van of the herd, and above the sphere of solicitorial 


To-day I had my first deliberate meal of newspaper litera- 
ture, having purchased the Argus and Herald, both daily 
papers, and, with the exception of the Oeelong Advertiser, a 
three-days a week journal, the only journals of note in the 
colony at the time. Either the Argus or the Herald would 
have maintained a highly respectable position in any metro- 
polis in the Old World on the score of literary ability, and 
certainly the crowded aspect of their advertising pages struck 
me with amazement, considering the age and population of 
the colony. 

A little over fifteen years before, when the entire popula- 
tion of Port Phillip scarcely numbered three thousand souls, 
John Pascoe Fawkner, the man who really rocked the cradle 

patronage. Three men, at least, of that period were in receipt of incomes 
equal to those of leaders in the first flight of business in Westminster HalL 
Mr. M*ch*e totted an average aggregate of 800/. per month, and never was 
money more deservedly earned or more cheerfully paid. Mr. F*ll*ws, a 
young man fresh from the musty chambers of the inns of court, even ex- 
ceeded that. Although below par as a court man, he was laden with black 
letter lore, possessed great legal acuteness and dialectic subtlety, and, like 
a certain member of the Irish bar who earned for himself the sobriquet of 
Dicky Demurrer, he acquired for himself a special fame for his keenness in 
scenting out a flaw or hitting a blot in a plea — a faculty idolised in the 
heart's core of all terrier attorneys, who overwhelmed him with chamber 
business, and gave him the junior brief on one side or the other. Mr. 
I**l*nd, a young member of the' Irish bar, I have good reason to know, in 
twelve consecutive months gathered a professional harvest close on the con- 
fines of 12,000/. If he was not stored with the toil-earned acquirements of 
Mr. F*ll*ws, he was endowed with intuitive readiness and quickness. In 
court, as wary as a magpie on a wall, there was no stealing a march upon 
him, while his untutored eloquence reached the hearts of the jury in its 
blarney, or convulsed the court from its original humour. By turns a ter- 
magant scold, a scathing satirist, or a smothering joker ; the terror of 
halting witnesses, the favourite of yawning jurymen, who felt the tedium 
of their duties relieved by his pleasantries ; often, I fear, stretching a point 
for his client in compensation for an impromptu pun. The amount of 
income I have Bet down in these three cases would be divested of any 
suspicion of exaggeration if my readers could but see the interminable 
length of a Melbourne cause-list, and form any idea of the untractable 
stubbornness of Melbourne litigants, who, when they settled out of court, 
rarely did so until after the delivery of briefs to counsel. 

A PEN JLSD ink newspaper. 95 

of the colony, who watched over its tender years with pa- 
rental solicitude, and still stands bravely by its side in its 
proud adolescence, started the first newspaper in the new 
land, thus founding the fourth estate in anticipation of the 
three great chartered elements of the British constitution. 
Convinced that even in a nomadic state of society the influ- 
ence of the press would be potent in stimulating the march 
of progress, in checking and exposing the derelictions of 
Government — always prone to arbitrary erring when irrespon- 
sible, and at a distance from the controlling counsels of its 
supreme head — in giving a tone to society, and in installing 
a spirit of independence to the community. He started the 
Melbourne Advertiser, without waiting for the importation of 
a press or a fount of type, launching it upon the world by the 
instrumentality of pen and ink. It is said there is one of 
the original numbers in existence, which is possessed by Mr. 
Archer, the editor of Facts and Figures, who published a fac- 
simile of it in No. 2 of that publication ; and, with this ac- 
knowledgment, I beg leave to copy its front page as one of 
the modern curiosities of literature^: 



Port Phillip, Australia. 
No. 1, written for, and published by, John P. Fawkner, 

January 1st, Monday, 1838, Melbourne. 

Vol 1st. 

We do opine that Melbourne cannot reasonably remain longer marked 
on the chart of advancing civilisation without its Advertiser. 

Such being our imperial fiat, we do intend, therefore, by means of this 
our Advertiser, to throw the resplendent light of publicity upon all the 
affairs of this new colony, whether of commerce, of agriculture, or of the 
arts and mysteries of the grazier. All these patent roads to wealth are 
thrown open to the adventurous Port Phillipians. All these sources of 
riches are about to be (or are already) become accessible to each adven- 


turous colonist of nous. The future fortunes of the rising Melboumians 
will be much accelerated by the dissemination of intelligence, consequent 
upon the press being thrown open here, but until the arrival of the printing 
materials, we will, by means of the humble pen, diffuse such intelligence 
as may be found expedient, or as may arise. 

The energies of the present population of this rapidly rising district 
have never been exceeded in any of the colonies of Great Britain. 

Its giant strides have filled with astonishment the minds of all the 
neighbouring states. The sons of Britain languish when debarred the use 
of that mighty engine the Press. A very small degree of support, timely 
afforded, will establish a newspaper here, but until some further arrange- 
ments are made it will be merely an advertising sheet, and will be given 
away to householders. 

Nine numbers of the Advertiser were regularly circulated 
in manuscript before the means and appliances came to hand 
for issuing it in print, and they came forward, at last, unac- 
companied by a printer. However, the man who could start 
a newspaper without type was not to be deterred from con- 
summating his project from the want of a regular-bred printer. 
After casting about and inquiring for some time, he got 
tidings of a stripling who had in early youth spent a few 
months hanging on as a messenger about a printing-office in 
Launceston, and who had learned a little of the art of a 
compositor. With this promising disciple of Gaxton, Mr. 
Eawkner set about the task of bringing out a regular weekly 
journal. I annex the leading article in its first-printed 
number : 

We aim to *Lkad, not Drive. 

It is not our intention to make many professions, but it is now, and 
shall continue' to be, our constant study, to advance the interests of the 
Port Phillipians, to advocate their cause at all times with the powers that 
be, but not in the mood imperative. We will point out our wants, and, 
as far as possible, describe the easiest and best manner of satisfying them ; 
we will cater for English, Colonial, and Foreign intelligence, and will add 
as much light and amusing reading as our limited space will allow. 

Melbourne was a wild, and, as far as Europeans are concerned, unin- 
habited place when the establishment of the proprietor of this journal 
arrived here in August, 1835. It is his boast that he caused Melbourne to 
be colonised. Mr. J. Batman had arrived at Port Phillip in June, 1885, 


but his taste led him' to select Indented Head in June, 1836. The few 
settlers then arrived subscribed, and built a small place of worship, which 
still serves both for the Established Church and the Presbyterian, each 
having two services on the Sunday. A Sunday-school is also kept in the 
same, in which is also kept a day-school. Large subscriptions are now in 
progress for each establishment, and the present place of worship is to be 
reserved for a school. 

We earnestly beg the public to excuse this our first appearance, in the 
absence of the compositor, who was engaged. We were under the neces- 
sity of trusting our first number (in print) to a Van Diemenian youth of 
eighteen, and this lad only worked at this business about a year, from his 
tenth to his eleventh, 1830 to 1831. Next the honest printer from whom 
the type was bought had swept up all his old waste letter, and called it 
type, and we at present labour under many wants. We even have not so 
much as pearlash to clean the dirty type. 

The second page contains an advertisement which in itself 
tends to exemplify the revolution which has taken place in 
Port Phillip since that date : 

The undersigned begs to inform the public that he has a boat and two 
men in readiness for the purpose of crossing and recrossing passengers 
between Williamstown and the opposite beach. 

Parties from Melbourne are requested to raise a smoke, and the boat will 
be at their service as soon as practicable. The least charge is five shillings, 
and two shillings each when the number exceeds two. 

In 1838, the civilised mode of sending telegraphic mes- 
sages between the capital and Sandridge, or Williamstown, 
was the very primitive one most generally used in all Bavage 
nations, but in less than nineteen years afterwards each of 
these localities was able to interchange intelligence with 
the quickness of thought by means of the telegraphic wire. 

After a brief career, the Advertiser came to an end, the 
Colonial Chancellor of the Exchequer deeming it an infringe- 
ment of the law to insert paid advertisements without a 
license ; and on the 27th of October of the same year, the 
first duly licensed newspaper issued in Port Phillip made its 
appearance, under the title of the* Port Phillip Gazette, a bi- 
weekly journal. However, Mr. Pawkner was not a man to 
be quietly quenched out, for, as soon as possible after pre- 

YOL. I. H 

98 hee nr yigtobia. 

paring the bonds, and perfecting thejsureties, which bad to 
be entered into at Sydney, — the local government not then 
having authority to do so, — he again entered the field of 
literary glory at the head of a new journal, entitled The 
Port Phillip Patriot, not then alone in his glory, but with 
a foeman in the front, whieh, to a man of Mr. Fawkner's 
peculiar temperament, was sufficient to inspire fresh, ardour 
and energy. Imperial politics did not appear to engage much 
of the attention or eloquence of the rival editors. Local ad- 
ministration and the selfish intriguing of private parties for 
interested ends were the prevailing topies on which they de- 
lighted to dilate, the Gazette espousing the pretensions of the 
land-and-power-grasping, or aristocratioal party, while the 
Patriot — as he does to the present day— 4ook his stand by 
the side of the people,* each giving occasional zest to their 
lucubrations by strong seasonings of personal abase and vitu- 
peration. Mr. Eawkner has been always ardent as he has 
been consistent in his opposition to questionable territorial 
aggrandisement. He denounced at the outset the absurd 
pretension of Mr. Batman to the royalty of a principality, 
on the strength of a deed cajoled from the unsophisticated 
natives for a few razors and blankets ; and was always at strife 
with the grasping greed of the squatters in appropriating unoc- 
cupied land. He ridiculed and exposed their absurd demand 
for compensation in lieu of digger intrusion, and was mainly 
instrumental in defeating the late Land Bill in the Legislative 
Council, conscientiously believing it conferred undue privi- 
leges on the squatters ; and although not officially connected 
with public journalism since 1840, — when he retired from the 
management of the Port Philip Patriot, — he very frequently 
figures as an able correspondent, when any public job is on the 

* When Mr. Fawkner thinks the people wrong (as in the emigration and 
labour question), he does not hesitate to oppose and denounce them. 


tapis, or any public grievance is in need of a fearless expositor. 
I will not offer any apology for this digression, because, in the 
first place, I conceive it will be of interest to the reader, 
anxious to trace Victorian institutions to their source; 
secondly, because feeling as I do that I could not write any 
notice, however trifling, of this great colony, without bring- 
ing the name of the Hon. J. P. Fawkner, M.L.O., into pro- 
minent and honourable notice, I think I cpuld choose no 
other topic with which I could so properly associate it as the 
great institution of the press. 

I believel am right in saying that the Herald was the lead- 
ing] ournal when the colonyfairly started on its career of settle- 
ment and permanent prosperity. It acquired its advanced 
rank by priority of birth, and kept its uniform position, 
floating down the same quiet stream on which its contempo- 
rary, the Argus, was subsequently launched. But as soon as 
the active spirit of commercial enterprise breathed new life 
into the affairs of Port Phillip, and modern progress imparted 
its ardent impulses to the philosopher, the merchant, the 
mechanic, and the settler, the Argus, managed by an ener- 
getic and adv e ntur o us proprietary, quickly and sensibly com- 
menced diminishing the precedency of the Herald, which was 
then under the direction of a gentleman who, though re- 
spected as a citizen, with a reputation for propriety and in- 
tegrity, was altogether wanting in those natural gifts and 
business acquirements calculated to sustain his paper in the 
teeth of a strong and talented competition. So that, even 
before the opening of the gold-fields, the Argus was, in sailor 
phraseology, well to windward, and caught the prospering 
gales of that stupendous discovery, while the sails of its con- 
temporary were flapping idly against the mast. And when 
the Herald in its turn felt the influence of the breeze, the 
Argus was hull down in advance, beyond all reasonable hope 



of being overhauled. The " Wants" of 50,000 immigrants, 
the inquiries of thousands of " Missing Friends," the " Board 
and Lodging" of hundreds of good Samaritans, the " Goods 
on Sale" of whole legions of upper- world merchants, the 
" Sales by Auction" of battalions of knights of the hammer, 
the " Impoundings" of jealous squatters, the " Programmes" 
of theatres and circuses, and Salles Valentino, the " Start- 
ing" of coaches, the " Sailing" of steam and Bailing packets, 
the " Proclamations of Insolvency," the " Houses and Lands 
to Let or Sell," the " Money to Lend," the " Eewards" to 
discover " Murder or Stolen Property," the " Notices of 
Partnership" brought such myriads of advertisements to the 
foremost journal, that six of its capacious pages were unable 
to contain them, causing the appearance of a phenomenon in 
the colony, in the shape of a supplement to a daily news- 
paper of eight pages, equal in area to that of the great 
Thunderer of Printing House-square. 

The proprietor of the Herald made a bold but tardy effort 
to regain his bearing. He looked about for co-operation, 
and had the rare luck of securing as associates men of posi- 
tion, of talent, and of means. The late attorney-general, the 
new editor of Punch, and a learned judge were added to the 
staff : all working with a will, and at great pecuniary sacrifice.' 
A new office was taken in a central position, new presses and 
types were brought into play, political sagacity directed its 
course, and distinguished ability shone out through its letter- 
press ; but the Argus still maintained its advance, far, far 
away on the arc of the horizon. Its advertisements, contrary 
to the general rule, secured its circulation. They were de- 
voured with avidity from its damp sheet, while its leaders 
were reserved to superinduce the afternoon siesta. 

There was nothing to choose between either paper on the 
score of politics, for, in fact, in those days there was no such 


thing, properly speaking, in Victoria. Politics then seemed 
to consist solely in abusing the government, denouncing the 
squatters, and patting the diggers on the back. In this 
creed both were agreed ; but there existed a difference of 
degree in promulgating the common doctrine. The Herald 
was always consistent and dignified, but impartial. The 
Argus was unreasoning, vindictive, and truculent. It was 
not restrained by rules or usages, or decencies ; it struck 
below the belt, rather than pretermit a chance of promoting 
its end ; and failing to destroy a government, it sought out 
an individual victim, worrying him incessantly and goring 
him without mercy, in fault as when blameless, not even 
abating its virulence when the pall of death fell over his 
abode, nor when the sterner feelings of human nature are 
prone to melt in charity on the occasion of eternal separa- 
tion.* The Herald attacked the whole system of adminis- 
tration, only resorting to personalities in cases of indi- 
vidual corruption or transgression, and always hailing in 
terms of hopeful commendation any gleamings of reform or 
amendment. But the Argus, in swaying its savage knout 
over the entire government, brought every lash to bear on 
the shoulders of Governor Latrobe, following him beyond 
the limits of official life with a species of " inextinguishable 
hatred," and studiously ignoring his most palpable endea- 
vours to suit the narrow powers of that period to the gigantic 
requirements of the new era. To keep pace with necessities 
which then daily and hourly sprang up in rank crops in 
every governmental department would have required the 
attributes of Divinity ; and because Mr. Latrobe was not a 
god, he must necessarily be a demon in the estimation of the 

* Allusion is here made to Governor Latrobe, to the death of his lady, 
and his final departure. 


Mr. Latrobe was neither a god nor a demon, neither a 
person marvellously endued with human wisdom and force 
of character, nor one who could be mistaken as of inferior 
capacity. He was the son of a clergyman, brought up and 
educated by his exemplary parent. Imbued at an early 
period of life with strong moral and religious sentiments, 
and possessed of good natural ability, he soon, became a 
rapid proficient in his studies, ultimately attaining a reputa- 
tion for scholastic acquirements that secured for him the 
suitable employment of travelling companion and tutor to a 
[French nobleman, one which turned out to be peculiarly 
congenial to his tastes, and led to the development of that 
modest literary ability of which he has given the world such 
agreeable instalments in his books on America and Mexico. 
To those works, I believe, from the internal testimony they 
bore to the general talents of the man, he was indebted for 
some minor appointment under Government in the West 
Indies ; but as merit will make itself apparent in trifles, he 
soon satisfied his employ 6s that at least he was a few degrees 
above the ordinary herd of public officials, and when the 
opportunity presented itself, he was offered and accepted; the 
then secondary office of superintendent of Port Phillip, 
having as his superior the Governor of New South Wales 
— an appointment not intended as a recognition of any 
very pre-eminent talent, or brilliant acquirements. The 
superintendence of Port Phillip in the days of its primitive 
and pastoral existence required no great scope of intellect to 
direct or control it ; and so long as it remained a pastoral 
settlement, creeping slowly ahead, gradually unfolding its 
resources, " wanting but little," and giving timely pre- 
monition of its few and simple wants, Mr. Latrobe dis- 
charged the functions of his vicarial government, with uni- 


veraal satisfaction, and justified the opinion that the home 
government formed of his abilities. If he failed m guiding 
or directing the whirlwind of prosperity, or* moulding into 
immediate order the magical tumult that burst forth simul- 
taneously with the discovery of gold, he should not have 
been accused of disappointing public expectation, or pelted 
with obloquy, for not proving equal to an emergency from 
winch very probably he would have shrunk could he have 
foreseen it. There were few statesmen of the day, if any, 
who could have improvised, from the resources at hand, an 
executive discipline,' or a fount of taxation to meet the un- 
paralleled demands of the new order of things, and all the 
dictates of generosity and magnanimity proclaim that, in- 
stead of being reviled and calumniated, he should have been 
sympathised with, and assisted in his trying difficulties. 

I am not exactly sure that I shall be exonerating the 
editor and proprietor of the Argu* from the obloquy attach- 
able to his policy by suggesting that he was actuated in his 
persecution of the governor, then supreme and irresponsible, 
more as a matter of trade than from feelings of personal 
enmity — more from a desire of circulation than from aspira- 
tions of patriotism ; and, in stating that conviction, I am 
considerably fortified by the fact that, when Mr. Foster 
arrived and undertook the office of colonial secretary, he 
very soon superseded Mr. Latrobe in the pillory of vitupera- 
tion, and became the target for all the rotten slanders and 
stinking exaggerations of the Argus. He never got a par- 
ticle of credit for any order in council savouring of liberality, 
but was held individually responsible for all the unpopular 
decrees of the executive. He was limned as an arch-fiend 
bent upon increasing and perpetuating digger slavery and 
persecution ; and the diggers really regarded him as a devil 


incarnate, being rather propitiated by Us voluntary downfal, 
even under a new regime, than quelled by the slaughter of 
the Eureka stockade. 

This game, as I remarked, suited the trade policy of the 
Argus admirably. There was such a relentless persistence 
in its tone, the diggers were cajoled into the belief that it 
was genuine earnestness. All legitimate authority was 
abused with such a seeming heartiness that imperial con- 
nexion came to be a question of debate on the gold-fields. 
And the license tax (a most odious imposition in the eyes of 
the diggers) was so held up to public execration as an in- 
famous and illegal exaction, that the vast community of 
diggers, gradually and adroitly warmed up from a gentle 
simmer to a full boil, rushed madly, with arms in their hands, 
into open rebellion to procure its abolition. But on looking 
round for their counsellor and abettor, they discovered that 
his pen was conspicuous amongst the plumes in the Govern- 
ment camp. This, however, is anticipating my personal nar- 
rative, so I beg leave to revert to the proper order of events 
in a new chapter. 





Melbourne on the Sabbath— Professor Sands — His Saloon— His Style of 
doing Business — Free-trade and Religious Toleration— Sabbatarian Dis- 
cipline — Sudden Changes of Temperature — Botanic Gardens — South 
Tarra — Cynical Stranger — His Mode of accounting for the Good Beha- 
viour of the Multitude — Diggers 1 Robing- room — Encounter with a 
Lunatic — St Kilda — House upset — Its Strange Appearance — Lose my 
Way returning Home at Night — Reach Home safe in the Morning. 

Fob a new, rollicking, harum-scarum, devil-may-care 
country, where, in reality, the odour of sanctity was not in 
the ascendant, I marvelled to witness, for the first time, the 
air of quiet serenity and decorousness which pervaded the 
capital on the Sabbath morning. It was not early when I 
crossed the ferry, and sauntered into Market-square (whose 
centre was then occupied by a confused mob of tents and 
deck-houses), and I could almost fancy the echo of my foot- 
fall was reproving my trespass on the prevailing stillness. 
There was not a soul to be seen throughout the long, long 
vistas of streets, as I crossed them, on my way up the hill, 
and the first symptom of animation that I encountered was 
on coming abreast of a barber's pole, which issued from a 
capacious canvas tenement, adorned with the notification, in 
conspicuous characters, that Professor Sands " practises the 
art of hair-cutting and shaving on scientific principles, and 
gives lessons thereon inside." 

I was attracted by the novelty of the sign, and being in 


want of a scientific cut, after the knife-and-fork style of 
doing business on shipboard, I was debating with myself 
whether I should have the operation performed immediately 
or wait until after first prayers, when the Professor appeared 
at the doorway, wreathed in smiles and a snowy apron. 
His invitation was so gracious and so original I was unable 
to resist it. So I made my entree into a spacious apart- 
ment, with seats along either side, all closely tenanted by 
parties waiting for their turns, the centre being occupied by 
four American shavings-chairs, and the further end. by as 
many basons for washing and shampooing. Professor Sands 
was a genu-wyne Yankee, and no mistake, both in external 
aspect, accent, pronunciation, and volubility, and, as he 
would say of another, a "right-down smart and original 
fellow," whose acquaintance I cultivated from that moment ; 
indeed, he was a general favourite, and secured fortune as 
well as popularity. Of course, he was a slight man, ap- 
proaching to tallness, with a thin viBage and a: restless eye ; 
he never took a seat, and rarely handled the scissors—" dohV 
the talkin' an' trading" as he said. I wish I could convey 
even a faint idea of the quick and humorous way in which 
he detected, drew out, and made use o£. the several pecu- 
liarities of his varied customers, as he walked up and down 
the shop, because I know it would be by far the most enter- 
taining chapter of the book. HiB shop never was without 
a butt, yet I never knew him to give offence. There were 
shelves all around overhead, on which all sorts of Ame- 
rican odds-and-ends and Yankee fixings were temptingly set 
out, most of them having no Manner of collateral connexion 
with the business, and as sure as the Professor caught an 
eye scanning a label— and he was always sure te catch it — 
he popped out an anecdote concerning' the miraculous pro* 
pertiea of the said article, as if he was wholly unaware it 

-7T3 *k KJ "^^"^^^^^^^^5:^^^^ 


was under scrutiny. Observing a case of the celebrated 
Doctor Townsend's sarsaparilla under ocular examination, he 
would improvise a circumstantial detail of the providential 
manner in which General Washington's life was rescued by 
it from a nervous fever on the evening of the day of Bunker's 
Hill — altogether regardless of the anachronism that the 
doctor was not born at the general's death — in the same 
breath warning a curious digger examining pomade pots in 
the window to be "almighty cautious lest he should get 
bear's paws or hair on his finger tops, as it was a blot of 
that identical grease' which fell on his own cheek, and gave 
him that tarnation mole with the hair tuft." " No use in 
life, Cappin, in eyeing that chin-scraper, Dan Boon's corn 
doctor, and his gift to old Bough-and-Beady, with which he 
shaved on hossback during the Mexican war, and hamstrung 
Santa Anna at the taking of Tampico. It would be a 
purty tall pile of ten-cent pieces, I tell you, that'd coax 
ttuit cur'osity out o* my keepin'. " 

I was infinitely amused at the rattling and unintermitting 
shower of the Professor's jokes and sallies, and almost forgot 
my morning's errand, when a fidgety neighbour next me stood 
up to leave, "as he waited so long, and his turn was so far 
off." " Wal, I pity your patience," said the Professor, u for 
I reckon you haven't waited ten minutes all told, and I guess 
youM go straight away and be humbugged two mortal hours 
by a snivelling preacher on the wharf." " As ye'r talking 
of preaching," said a sour-beer-smelling publican, muffled 
in lather, " I can't see for why preachers and barbers can go 
onan' earning of money all seven days long, and a man as 
pays a hunder a year for license to trade can't do nothing of 
the kind." w Bight as thunder," chimeB in the Professor; 
"free trade and religis toleration is all skunk, when a man 
with his whoops a droppin 1 off might fall in staves for want 


of a blessed nobbier, while folk are gettin' earwigged in 
church ; leave publicans' doors bang open like church doors 
and barbers' doors, for bein' noways prejudyced, I don't stick 
out ahead of the proper point for my crowd. None of the 
apostles I ever seed on canvas wore cropped heads or bald 
chins, then why should barbers be favoured afore pub- 
licans ?" An incontrovertible conclusion, which was re- 
ceived with general commendation, as were indeed most of 
his sallies and homilies, and, as a natural consequence, most 
remained to be entertained and operated on, while the few 
unable to appreciate the Professor's wit preferred remaining 
to hear rather than provoke it. 

Even when I left the Professor's, and got into Great 
Collins-street, there was not a soul astir. I was in doubt at 
last whether it was particular reverence for the morning, or 
painful reminiscences of the previous evening, that kept the 
folk inside doors. At times, too, I was strongly reminded 
of Scotland in everything around me, except the pure air, 
uncertain whether I was not infringing the police regula- 
tions by looking up at the clear blue sky instead of into the 
foul kennel, according to the stern Sabbatarian discipline in 
cities north of the Tweed. As I reached the intersection 
of Elizabeth-street, however, I could discern a strong out- 
door muster towards its northern terminus, which a taciturn 
policeman whispered me, mournfully, was the Soman Catho- 
lic church. Bells, too, at this moment began tolling in 
various directions, and elongated strings of triste-looking 
people glid noiselessly along the flags close in by the houses 
to escape the mockery of their shadows until they reached 
their different sanctuaries ; but wherever I observed gaily 
dressed families, accompanied by mirthful children walk- 
ing in happy bunches, as if intent on performing a pleas- 
ing, cheerful, agreeable duty in return for the benefac- 


tions of the week, I found they all converged towards the 
group in the north-end of Elizabeth-street, whither I fol- 
lowed them, in a similar spirit offering thanksgivings, 
quite as sincere, I believe, and as acceptable, I hope, as if 
offered up from beneath gloomy brows in accents akin to 
anguish. It struck me forcibly that an estimate of city popu- 
lation formed by the numbers whom I could see coming and 
going from the several houses of worship would fall far short 
of the number assigned to Melbourne, and I very naturally 
concluded, notwithstanding all appearances to the contrary, 
that by far the larger portion of its inhabitants were indif- 
ferent to religion beyond its mere surface or external ob- 
servances. A very large proportion of them — in fact, nearly 
all the wealthier classes — resided in the charming outlets by 
which the city is surrounded on all sides ; and I discovered, 
in the course of my afternoon's suburban stroll, that vast 
numbers of the small shopkeepers and mechanics made it a 
point to take their families into the country on Sundays, as 
if to get out of the mill-track of the week, to gladden the 
eye with the bloom and verdure of nature, to cleanse the 
lungs from the six days' impurities of their forges, their mills, 
and their workshops, and to prepare the nerves and spirits 
for another week's toil by a few hours' gladsome, exhilarating 
relaxation ; for the human frame as well as the hunter's bow 
loses its elasticity from perpetual tension, even though the 
strain be of the most orthodox description. Eest and aus- 
terity are in no wise synonymous, nor is evangelical spirit- 
groaning symbolical of the sanctified repose of our beneficent 
Creator, when, in glorious contemplation of the six days' 
work, he blessed the seventh and made it holy. And no 
amount of religious teachings or saintly inculcations will 
ever convert me to the belief that it is pleasing in the eye of 
God to spend the Sabbath in moaning and morose mortifica- 


tions, or that innocent recreations and amusements are in- 
consistent with the pure Christian observance of that day. 
Myn is improved in heart, soul, and body by wandering oc- 
casionally from his poor perishable haunts into the grand 
enduring temples of Nature, where his nothingness is most 
impressively contrasted with the might and majesty of Omni- 
potence, and not the ear alone, but all the senses, are filled 
with suasive sermons of hallowed love and awe in praise and 
exaltation of the goodness and glory of God. Yet the patent 
latter-day apostles invoke almighty wrath on all such prac- 
tices and proceedings. 

In the morning the air was keen and searching, and I clad 
myself accordingly, prepared to make a day of it with a 
friend at St. Kilda; but after prayers, as I commenced jny 
ramble, the sun came out with a radiance and warmth which 
reminded me of the May in the hemisphere I so recently, 
quitted. Emerging from the direct route to St. Kilda, 
immediately south of the bridge, I entered an immense 
enclosure of rising ground, crowned by a broad plateau, 
which is the chosen site of the future gubernatorial resi- 
dence, but one, in my mind, decidedly ineligible, even 
though commanding a fine* expansive prospect on all sides, 
for the entire area is completely denuded of timber, a bare 
and naked eminence, much more suitable for an hospital or 
public institution than for a gentleman's dwelling, far 
which the charms of privacy and seclusion are altogether 

The Botanic Gardens are situated, in juxtaposition with the 
Government demesne, on a hanging amphitheatre, embracing 
a reedy lake, which is crowded with the different varieties of 
water-fowl peculiar to the colony, and having its open side 
washed by the Tarra. The grounds, from their pleasing confi- 
guration, are peculiarly susceptible of the ornate style of land- 
scape gardening, and even at that early age betrayed delight- 


fill evidences of the exquisite taste and skill of the presiding 
genius, who, it was pretty generally known, was no less a person 
than the governor himself. The finest of the old primeval 
trees of the locality were carefully preserved in striking posi- 
tions, and beautiful plants of the tapering, graceful Norfolk 
pine judiciously distributed so as to contribute to the 
effect and heighten the contrast betwixt them and the in- 
digenous patriarchs; while all the rare evergreens and 
beauteous flowering shrubs of the entire Polynesian arehi- 
pelago that eould be acclimatised to the temperature of the 
Southern Pacific were scattered about with an air of studied 
negligence as if they were the natural underwood of the 
luxurious soil. The fancy-shaped beds were stocked with 
lovely flowers and delicate plants, finely gravelled walks 
leading the visitor through the richest and most fragrant 
districts, or to sweet grass-carpeted openings, where, from 
rustic seats, the most charming vistas led away the captive 
eye. There was a gay and happy throng enjoying themselves 
when I entered, and from their very decorous demeanour I 
could have almost conceived there was a degree of exclusive- 
ness .exercised in the admission, for the boisterous digger 
was not represented in any of the groups I encountered, nor 
was the courtesan to be suspected amongst the well but 
modestly*attired females who mingled amongst them. I dare 
say if there was a tavern within the precincts of the gardens 
we would have been favoured with a good sprinkling of their 
society ; but, as it was, ail were of the genteel, well-behaved 
stamp, albeit in no way evangelical. I was so much sur- 
prised, and so thoroughly pleased at the scene, that I longed 
for a companion to share my gratification and interchange 
sentiments with me, in accordance with which feeling I 
sat myself down beside a gentlemanly-looking person, who 
was sitting alone on a bench close by me. I think he 
discerned my emotion as well as my object in sitting near 


him, for he looked a cynical smile as I turned towards him ; 
but, being full of my feeling, I determined on accosting him, 
notwithstanding his evident repugnance at my contiguity. I 
first combined a respectable panegyric on the grounds and 
the weather, which he heard without any response. .Then, 
after a decent pause, I remarked, in a less indirect manner, 
"that the gardens reflected great credit on the colony," 
which only extracted a mocking " hum " and a slight shift of 
position ; but following up this slight success quickly by a 
eulogium on " the appearance and behaviour of the visitors," 
I brought him to his legs sharply with a dry laugh, when, 
turning courteously towards me, he remarked, in a very 
polite tone, " I really am at loss, sir, to discover the grounds 
of your astonished admiration of the people of this place, 
seeing that nine-tenths of them were sent out to us by the 
very best judges in Great Britain ;" upon which, making a be- 
coming bow, he retired, leaving me to discover the satire at 
my leisure. He was evidently a man at war with the world, 
who perhaps enjoyed days of peaceful prosperity in the 
primitive era of Port Phillip, and, having had a turn of ill- 
luck in latter times, attributed his bad fortune to the new 
order of things and the new-comers. 

I have no doubt it was the proximity of the Government 
demesne and the Botanic Gardens that induced the ban ton 
of the metropolis to establish their suburban head-quarters 
at South Yarra, a high-lying district immediately abutting 
on them, running in a quick but lovely slope on the one side 
down to the Yarra, and gently subsiding in its western 
declivity into the rich and picturesque vale of Gardiners' 
Creek, which is also a quarter of fashionable resort. The 
land in the South Yarra district, fortunately for its abiding 
pre-eminence, was originally in the hands of wealthy and re- 
spectable classes, free enough from the vice of avarice to 


resist the prevailing temptation of cutting up their pro* 
perties into small allotments, intersected with streets, and 
lanes, and by-ways. On the contrary, wishing to keep the 
profane multitude at a distance, paddocks, instead of patches 
of land, were put into the market, and the purchasers, who 
were mostly of the settling class, were thus enabled to build 
fine dwellings and surround themselves with gardens and 
pleasure-grounds. This region was even then a delectable 
spot, and the price which the land fetched debarred any one 
but persons of means from invading its exclusive neighbour- 
hood. The villa residences then in existence were of a 
superior order, with grounds scrupulously neat and trim, 
after the style of Putney or Twickenham, although an 
ordinary gardener at that period would have considered 
himself insulted if proffered a smaller salary (not vulgar 
wages, mind you) than 250Z. per year. The first vehicle re- 
sembling a respectable private carriage caught my sight at 
one of those pretty residences, and I have not to this moment 
forgotten my early predilection for that charming locality. 

I thence shaped my course towards St. Kilda, taking my 
way through a finely timbered tract of country, resembling 
a spacious English park without its avenues. The trees were 
sparsely distributed, with very few bunches of underwood, 
so that the views in every direction were long and uninter- 
rupted. Crowded vehicles rattled along, and horsemen at 
mad speed darted past in great numbers, sometimes ap- 
proaching in so point-blank a direction that I was frequently 
forced to stand plump up against the next tree to avoid being 
ridden down. 1 passed several mounds of discarded ward- 
robe, some not quite cold from the lateness of their occupation, 
but this I could account for without a cicerone, knowing that 
diggers prefer the bush as a robing-room, selecting the nearest 
suburb for that purpose, where, after donning their town 

TOL. I. I 

114 LIES Iff YEC20B1A. 

outfit, they abandon their digging habiliment*— a custom, 
hy-the-way, which has originated a colonial phase of "old 
do 9 " trading in and about Melbourne. Seeing at some little 
distance a man, as I imagined, making his rural toilet, I took 
such a slant as I thought would bring me within good eye- 
range of him, but on approaching I clearly perceived he was 
under the influence of some strange eccentricity. He had 
taken off his coat and waistcoat, and, folding them with 
extreme precision, he laid them on the ground. He then 
polled out his watch and hung it on a branch, and proceeded 
undressing most methodically until he was perfectly naked, 
by which time I Was quite close to him ; then, dividing the 
thicket with his hands, as if he was separating the curtains 
of a bed, he made a step upwards in the air, and stretched 
himself composedly on the ground* I looked round for some 
person to consult with before proceeding to disturb him, but 
as there Was not any one just then within call, I ventured to 
intrude on his repose. He regarded me placidly at first, but 
when I pressed him for an explanation, he grumbled, looked 
savage, and then sprang at me, exclaiming, "Eobber! 
murderer! thief! 19 and although he was not possessed of 
much strength, I felt awkward iA the embrace of a lunatic, 
who thought biting, scratching, or gouging all fair, and who 
clang about me with his legs and arms as if he was immersed 
in water. I could not get him down without going down 
myself, and it required all the skill and watchfulness I could 
command to keep my nose and face out of range of his teeth 
and claws. Fortunately three young fellows came to my 
relief, and soon after two vehicles and a cluster of horsemen. 
As the number of strangers approached, my foe relaxed his 
hold, and, dropping to his feet, he looked round for a moment 
in wild amazement, and then darted away at great speed, 
running fully two hundred yards before one of the young 
pedestrians captured him. He became excessively violent in 

ST. KILDA. 115 

talk and gesture, inflicting some ugly scratches on his captor, 
and resisting with great energy any attempt at dressing him. 
1 explained the occurrence so far as I was concerned, and it 
was apparent to all that he was suffering from delirium 
tremens. An arrangement was then agreed to that the 
young men on foot should remain in charge while a horse- 
man rode on to the police-station at St. Kilda to send one 
of the force to take charge of him, and I sauntered on 
towards St. Kilda. 

Notwithstanding my morning's experiences and my mid- 
day adventures I reached my friend P ns' at half-past four, 

and as the dinner hour was a fashionable one we walked out 
to explore the neighbourhood. The evening was still dry 
and clear, but another change of temperature supervened, 
which proved to me that the assertion as to having " a fair 
sample of four seasons in the same day" was founded on 
fact, for as we walked on the esplanade above the beech the 
chilling south wind was biting so keenly I could not keep 
my teeth from chattering. 

St. Kilda is about three and a half miles from the city, on 
elevated ground washed by the bay waters on one side, and 
otherwise mostly surrounded by low lying wastes, which 
were flooded at the period of my visit. In 1853, there were 
a good many fine trees of a venerable stamp standing about, 
the last of their race, and several isolated residences without 
reference to order or future arrangement, as far as I could 
observe. There were a few olden villas and houses, neatly 
and substantially built of brick and stone, but by far the 
greater number were hastily run up of weather-boards with- 
out any intention of stability, merely to meet the inordinate 
demand for residences there at most inordinate rents. In 
the course of our walk I was pointed out a ludicrous in- 
stance of the instability of these mushroom edifices, erected 



by a speculating landholder. It was a two-story wooden 
house, that upset as the family were enjoying themselves 
on the balcony on a fine evening, in which position it 
lay as I passed, torn up by the roots — -the first house in a 
sound state I ever saw in a prostrate condition. Had I 
come across it without any explanation, I should have been 
as sadly puzzled to know for what it was intended (lying 
face under) as the unsophisticated husbandman at the agri- 
cultural show was to discover the use of an implement which 
turned out to be an inverted wheelbarrow. 

As one of my fellow guests lived in his little office in the 
city, I had company home for the greater part of the way, 
and when we parted I took a line, as I supposed, direct for 
Emerald Hill. Peeling quite sure of the direction, I walked 
along with great confidence, but in perfect silence, for the 
country was said to be bristling with bushrangers, and a 
most sanguinary band infested the Brighton and St. Kilda 
district, committing the most unheard-of atrocities without 
any ostensible aim or object. 

However, after a blindfolded ramble of some hours, I 
found myself on the beach close to Sandridge, where I felt 
much inclined to abide until daylight under a boat ; but the 
rawness of the night air forbade repose, so I rambled through 
the village, and was almost tempted to feel the pulse of the 
doctor whose smoky red lamp was suspended from the ridge 
pole of a tattered tent. Second thoughts disapproved the 
intrusion, for my slight knowledge of human nature and 
professional discipline prefigured the reception I would be 
likely to meet from an M.D. roused from his bed by a postu- 
lant instead of a patient. I therefore followed up the joint- 
road track towards Melbourne, and when I came abreast of 
Emerald Hill I found out my domicile without difficulty 
about four o'clock in the morning. 




S bs'a Auction Mart — Business set to Music — The Jewish Persuasion — 

Bow in the Auction-room — Profits in 1853 — Champagne Lunch at St. 
Kilda — Auction Vultures — Spirited Bidding — Professional Advertising 
Manufacture — Specimen Advertisement —Fabulous Price of Land at that 
Period— Heavy Fall of Bain— Its Effect on the Streets— Their Appear- 
ance daring the Flood and after its Subsidence — These Floods not to be 
arrested — Their Sanitary Effects counterbalance their Temporary In- 
convenience — The Argus Dining-rooms — Their Menage — Determine 
on going to the Theatre — Out-door Arrangements— In-door Appearances 
— The Audience described — How the Tragedy of "Hamlet" was played 
— Scenes and Incidents during the Performance — Strange Bequest made 
of Ophelia — Tim Jones's Speech and his Quaint Announcement — Col- 
loquy between the Gravedigger and the other Diggers — Happy Conclu- 
sion — Scene at the Bar of the Public— Solemn Declaration. 

The morning on which my brother's merchandise was to 
be disposed of by S bs and Son, I directed my steps to- 
wards their rooms, and, on turning the corner of Queen- 
street, perceived, somewhat to my astonishment, an immense 
flag waving over the entrance, as well as a brass band in front 
of the door, splitting the air with all their might. Well 
knowing the quid pro quo mode of transacting all sorts of 
business in gold countries, I made sure that the orchestra 
.would figure prominently in the account sales, while, as I 
observed, it was producing effects the very opposite to those 
for which I imagined it was employed. People on foot 
were certainly concentrating in the direction, but, curiously 
enough, all the omnibuses, gigs, and other vehicles which 


rattled past me and pulled up in the immediate neighbour- 
hood were wholly without passengers. 

As I came close up, curious speculation was soon satis- 
fied by the huge posters leaning on either side of Messrs. 
S b s's portals and the placards pasted on the panels of 
the carriages, " announcing that immediately after the sale 
of merchandise free seats would be given to all parties wish- 
ing to partake of a champagne luncheon at St..Kilda," the 
invitation being cut off from all contact with trade by the 
vile parody-^ 

There is a transport in Qt. Kflda's Wood, 
There is a r aptur e in its flea-girt Chores — 

which occupied a bracket over a bald mass of straight lines, 
conveying anything rather than motions of transport or jcap- 
ture, intended as a representation of "the first series of 
.allotments for the erection of villa residences on the mag- 
nificent and picturesque property of T. B— d, Eh}*, with- 
out reserved" 

When the hour Braved for putting up the merchandise, 
the brass band was equally divided in the numerous vehicles, 
which were despatched in opposite directions throughout the 
town, beating up for recruits, and the concourse clustered 
round the entrance to the auction mart retired into the in- 
terior, which, to an uninitiated person, might have been mis- 
taken for a Jewish synagogue ; for, during the loud excite- 
ment in the street, the Hebrew family congregated in a 
dense mass about the pulpit, perching themselves, too, on 
every elevated point or prominent position, so that the 
Christian community only occupied a very narrow rim of 
background in the throng. I never before saw such an 
overwhelming multitude of sharp nasal promontories and 
tawny visages, every dark eye glistening with anxiety and 
every pointed beak Beemingly whetted for business; for 

mosaic PBowrcramEs. 319 

wherever clothes of any kind are in question, be they new 
or old, there do the descendants of Moses love to assemble; 
and whatever feelings of persecuted hrotherism bind them 
together on other occasions, they seem to ignore creed, 
country, and relationship when running the scent 'of wearing 
apparel, and, like a pack of ravening wolves, they growl and 
tear each other into metaphorical pieces over a valueless lot 
of damaged baragon jackets put up to sale " for the benefit 
of whom it may concern." I never remarked them clamorous 
at land sales— though there is not any prohibition against 
their possessing themselves of real estate in the colony— nor 
in the sales of town property, except in so jEar as they re- 
quired it for their own business locations ; but in aales of 
merchandise, especially that appertaining to the external 
comfort or adornment of both sages in the lower grades of 
fashion, they feirly outstrip and distance all competition. 
Most, if not all, of the Melbourne Jew clothiers have direct 
connexion with the great Houndsditch and other East 
London outfitters, and if any foreign importation comes 
upon the market, they buy it over the heads of all Christian 
competitors, at prices far beyond the limits of remuneration, 
so as to xetain exclusive possession of the trade. 

The hoots and shoes in my brother's catalogue were £ 
very dainty article, and much sought after, but the lots 
which most concentrated attention were the waterproof 
clothing, of which the market was quite bare, with the rainy 
season already set in. The samples exposed on the semi- 
circular counter were examined a thousand times over, every 
examiner laying them down with a look as much as to say, 
" You're mine if money can buy you ;" but in a short intej> 
lude, caused by a aale of harness— an article in which Jews 
are not much interested — one of the 'tribe, more adventurous 
than his brethren, gained entrance into .the penetralia behind 


the pulpit, where I was standing with my brother, and pos- 
sessed himself of the whole of the envied lots by an offer of 
one hundred and fifty per cent, on the invoice price, taking 
all risk, together with paying all costs and charges what- 
soever, an offer which, under my advice, was accepted. After 
the harness was disposed of, there was a general cry, 
"Waterproofs! waterproofs! waterproofs!" accompanied 
with a rapping and stamping quite after the manner of 
calling for a popular song in a minor theatre, which be- 
came momentarily louder and more frequent, interspersed 
with the monosyllables " SeU ! sell !" and " A do !" but 
these ebullitions increased to a tempest when the porters 
proceeded to remove the samples from the counter. I 
fancied there would have been a physical force demonstra- 
tion from the frenzied manner in which " Damned sell !" 
" Cheat," " Swindle !" " Put up to sell bad boots !" &c. <fcc., 
were hurled at the auctioneer, and the minatory looks and 

gestures addressed in our direction. Mr. S bs, after 

several pantomimic efforts, was at length allowed to explain 
the transaction, upon which the tumult was renewed, but 
took a new channel, having this time the lucky purchaser 
for its object of indignation. I really do believe, had he been 
caught at the moment in the body of the room, he would not 
have escaped with a simple bonneting, so great were the 
indications of savage rage which prevailed amongst the dis- 
appointed multitude. Taking the waterproof clothing, the 
boots and shoes, the harness and saddlery, the fire-arms, and 
hardware together, they realised a clear profit of one hundred 
and thirty-three per cent, above all charges, and had we 
made a good passage, say of ninety days instead, of one 
hundred and thirty-two, there is no doubt they would have 
fetched much more. There was a friend of mine present, 
who came out a year before me with the intention of pur- 


chasing a station, taking with him 8000/., which I advised 
him to invest in similar goods. If he had done so he would 
have augmented his capital to at least 20,000/., for those 
articles were selling at truly fabulous rates early in 1852. 
But having no idea of trade or business, he preferred, in a 
true John Bull spirit, to take out Bank of England notes, 
which, like the British flag, he imagined would pass current 
in any corner of the globe ; however, he found out too late 
that his Victorian cousins were wanting enough in proper 
respect for home institutions to charge a discount of seven 
and a half per cent., or 600/. on the amount, so that instead 
of a profit of 12,000/. he secured a loss of 600/. 

As the goods auction commenced at ten o'clock sharp, the 
whole assemblage were ready to start for the champagne 
luncheon at half-past twelve o'clock. The vehicles were 
quickly filled, an omnibus, with half the band and a land 
pilot, having been despatched some time before to take up 
their stand on the spot and play at the top of their bent as 
a means of attracting all within earshot, a proceeding very 
generally understood, for the crash of music in the Bush as 
surely told of a land sale as the intermitting cry of hounds 
in cover did of a hunt meeting in the neighbourhood. When 
the cavalcade got into motion it was joined by several private 
gigs and tax-carts, and at intervals by troops of outriders, 
so that by the time we got clear of the town there was 
really a large muster, which, to a stranger, was not without 
its effect, winding through the grand natural park-land along 
the large sheets of water between the city and St. Kilda, 
for in those days there was no regular line of road what- 
ever in that direction. Ascending the rising ground, which 
may now be termed the heart of St. Kilda, the music on the 
scene of auction was distinctly heard from an opposite knoll 
beyond, and through the bare stems of the trees it was easy 


to see that a considerable crowd was assembled on the 
ground, agreeably diversified by the presence of ladies and 
good-looking nursemaids, in quite as gay attire as their mis- 
tresses, and assuming airs of sauciness meant for colonial 

Driving through a belt of fine timber, there was an open 
space on the very crown of the eminence — level, green, and 
velvety — certainly a most inviting location for settling down 
on, commanding, as it did, pretty snatches of view of the 
bay to the south-east, in which direction the timber wm 
thin And scattered. In the centre there was a large 
marquee, looped up all round, and under it & spacious table, 
filling its entire area, laden with a most tempting variety of 
edibles, but as if, in rigid conformity with the invitation, 
exclusively confined to champagne as an article of drink. 
There were ten or a dozen attendants in their shirt-sleeves, 
walking quickly to and fro in a cleared space around the 
marquee, rasping great earring-knives over great steels, as I 
supposed to improve their efficiency, but in reality, as I sub* 
sequsnUy learned, to keep at bay a pack of ravening loafers, 
who were notorious for attending the preliminary perform** 
anoes even of the most remote land sales with a punctuality 
worthy of a better cause. Like Cornish wreckers, or birds 
of prey 9 who intuitively assemble round stranded ships or 
wounded bufialoes, they invariably made their appearance 
wherever the auctioneer's marquee arose, watching on the 
spring for the signal of attack, and diminishing the radius of 
their circle with insensible .stealthiness. 

When all the company alighted, Mr. S ba, with an 

urbanity for which he was -remarkable, made an arrange- 
ment for .the ladies in the omnibuses, and then led his best* 
established bidders. into the cleared circle ; but -the first clash 
of cutlery. annihilated all order, arrangement, or precedency 


and a tumultuous m&lee ensued, continuing until the 
wreckers secured each a portion of prey, and retired to the 
background to devour it, with the aid of a bottle of cham- 
pagne, which each became speedily possessed of. In fact, 
everybody on the ground held a bottle in his graap, and 
Mr. S— bs, with his recording angel, ascended the driving- 
box of an omnibus similarly provided. This was a signal for a 
fusillade of corks followed by effervescent compliments to the 
presiding genius, who acknowledged them graciously and 
toasted the ladies in becoming terms- He then prefaced the 
proceeding by a comprehensive toast, embracing every re- 
source, pursuit, and calling in the colony. His assistant 
next followed by reading the terms of sale, the dry details of 
which were relieved by another generous libation, and Lot 
No. lwas then launched upon .the market in a flood of 
sparkling eulogy, at the nominal price of 12. per foot, advanc- 
ing at rapid half-sovereign strides to a figure which would 
appear absurd even for the superficies of Hyde Park, with a 
frontage to the Serpentine. The lucky purchaser's fortune 
was, of course, copiously celebrated, and Lots 2, 3, 4 were 
successively started, the laat, under the fortuitous influence 
of a timely pop of the favourite beverage, heading the bid- 
ding amidst loud cheers. A few fancy comer allotments 
were then introduced, led forward like blushing damsels 
conscious of .their superior attraction, causing quite a, buzz 
and crush of excitement around the rostrum ; but before 
they were formally presented to the admiring thnang, a 
apodal libation in their honour was proposed, and was moat 
enthusiastically responded to on all sides. The fever was 
-now at its height, and ere Mr. S b s could catch a pause, 
he was anticipated by an ardent individual who started 
the biddings at 52., every further advance being announced 
in duplicate from the pulpit, the hammer ^finally coming 


down to a bid that was claimed by three. This led to a fresh 
start and renewed competition, which almost caused me to 
question the bona fides of the entire proceedings, so out- 
rageously extravagant were the prices realised, so far beyond 
any parallel in the annals of history or any rational prospect 
of reimbursement. In fact, if New Holland was no bigger 
than the Isle of Wight, and its whole foundation consisted 
of a substratum of gold freckled with Kohinoors, their rates 
could not have been in excess of the prices paid that day for 
ordinary land, four miles in the Bush, without any road to 
approach it, or any immediate attractions to enhance its 
value. Yet this identical land — portions of it at least — to 
my knowledge, were resold at a profit, as was most of the 
land sold at the highest rates of 1853, that was not overheld 
beyond the following February, for the tide of gold discovery 
was still in full flood, the demand for every description of 
import unabated, the profits prodigious, and unbounded 
wealth apparently in the possession of everybody, without 
any idea that the current of prosperity was ever destined to 
turn. Scepticism was a feeling not then recognised in the 
colony. The man who halted, or doubted, was set down as 
a fool or a dullard. Progress was the universal creed, and 
" Advance, Victoria !" the favourite motto of public writers 
and speakers — one especially appropriated by owners, dealers, 
or speculators in land, and a pet heading patronised by the 
school of melodramatic advertisement composers, which arose 
at that period in Melbourne, constituting a species of pro- 
fession, for, like Lord Byron's pastrycook, with her poet in 
keeping, every auction establishment felt it a duty to have 
one of these geniuses on the staff to concoct florid nonsense 
in ludicrous imitation of George Bobins's style. Let me 
annex a sample, sanctioned by the name of a well-known 
auctioneer, and leave my readers to judge of the gullibility 


or the ideas of gullibility, which then prevailed in the colony 
of Victoria : 

" Advance, Victoria !" 
" Tis sweet to peep through the loopholes of retreat upon the busy world." 

To Retired or Active Merchants, Government and Professional Men, 
Storekeepers, Diggers, or others. 

Delightful Cottage Residence, only five minutes* ride by railway from 

W. F. Westall has to dispose of one of the most complete Cottage Resi- 
dences within an equal distance of Melbourne, together with two Five- 
roomed Cottages and a piece of land, let together at SOL per ^nnnm. 

The principal portion of the property now offered consists of an addition 
to the above ; a most neat and substantial cottage standing in the centre of 
its own grounds, and contains four convenient-sized rooms, with lobby. A 
verandah five feet in width surrounds the entire cottage, upon which the 
vine and numerous other creepers twine in graceful luxuriance, while a 
parterre of beautiful flowers fills up the foreground. A detached kitchen, 
servant's bed-room, and scullery complete the domestic offices; also a fowl- 
house and aviary, with sufficient unoccupied land on which to erect a 
coach-house and stable. The back windows of the cottage command ex- 
tensive views of the Bush, and the plume-boarded beach lying between St 
Kilda and Brighton, while that bold promontory, the Red Bluff; Pic-Nic 
Point, with Mount Eliza in the distance, charm the scene. 

The bay and harbour of Port Phillip, bearing on their waters the stately 
ships of many dimes, bringing the world's merchandise to this El Dorado 
of ours, give new and charming features to the scene. The arrangements 
of this " Gem of Emerald" are so complete, that it must be the fault of the 
occupier if comfort, peace, and happiness in their widest sense do not reign 
throughout the entire establishment. In fact, this desirable property must 
be seen to be duly appreciated. 

A friend, in an impromptu on the beauty of the spot, writes as follows : 

" By the fair eyes of Flora sweet flowers are seen 
To surround the retreat of their lord and their cfheen ; 
In tasteful luxuriance their sweets they disclose, 
As a tribute of thanks for such peaceful repose." 

For particulars and cards to view, apply to W. F. Westall, on and after 
Monday, at his office, 7, Mincing-lane, Flinders-street, West. 

In the sales of private property, the terms of sale were 
always temptingly liberal, framed with the intention of in- 
viting speculation, for, where money. was in such general 

126 i»ifb rcr tictobia. 

requisition, with so many opportunities of putting it out to 
fructify to advantage, even the large capitalists bought with 
more avidity under small immediate cash instalments and 
long-dated bills, while the mere speculator, with means 
almost limited to the first cash payment, invested for a rise, 
hoping either to sell before the first bill 1 came to maturity 
or to be in a position to raise sufficient funds to meet it by 
pawning his prospects injuturo. 

During my return drive to town, in a down-pouring 
deluge, I heard divers and sundry stones told, and instances 
specified, of the fortunes made in land speculations, and the 
enormous profits extracted out of small patches of ground in 
incredibly short spaces of time. A very notable one was a 
single acre at South Yarca, sold in the early part of 1851 for 
30?., resold in January, 1982, for 40W., purchased a few 
months afterwards by Major D — d — n for 1000Z., and sub- 
sequently disposed of by him- at 2500k I could fill chapters 
with equally well-authenticated instances, illustrative of the 
wild and widespread mania for land speculation which then 
prevailed in "Victoria, imbuing the impulsive and weak- 
minded with a species of frenzy, and even infecting sober, 
thoughtful, and calculating citizens with a morbid craving, 
which committed them to bargains that they were conscious 
were ruinous, resembling the morbid appetite that persists 
in swallowing clay, even though it produces the pangs of 
disease and indigestion. I ascertained there was to be a 

Government land sale the following day at Messrs. T t's, 

the Government auctioneers, previous to which a much- 
coveted paddock at St. Kilda was to be brought to the ham- 
mer. The advertisement caused an immense sensation, if I 
might be permitted to judge from the excited state of my 
omnibus companions, who predicted a strife of competition 
altogether unequalled, the sale being known to be londfide, 


as the proprietor was making arrangements to leave for 
England. I may here remark, that the Government auc- 
tioneers had a decided advantage in disposing of pet sections 
of this kind over all their brethren, as the public land sales 
were always sure to attract the fullest attendance both of 
town and country speculators,— city, suburban, and country 
allotments being so judiciously mixed up together in the 
monthly programme. Thus, while some chartered steamers 
to cross to Williamstown or to ascend the Salt-water River, 
and others hired omnibuses to take thirsty crowds to the 

inland districts, Messrs* T 1 sold the allotments over the 

counter, from hard-featured maps, without the stimulating 
agency of champagne, by adroitly taking advantage of their 
monthly levees, saving by it, too, much of their own valuable 
time, as well as the immense drawback from their clients in 
the shape of expenses. Although I had arranged to* start 
for Geelong, en route to Ballarat, on the morrow afternoon, 
I resolved to attend the Government sale and witness the 
land fight over the St. Kilda paddock. 

The rain continued to fall in streaming torrents as we 
pulled up at our destination, the Bull and Mouth, where the 
flickering champagne excitement was supplemented by stiff 
potations of brandy. Wot having an overcoat, I was con- 
strained to remain in the shelter, a witness, for the second 
time, of the never-ceasing scenes of drunken excess in that 
establishment. I was still a rain-bound prisoner when the 
shades of evening thickened, and I therefore determined on 
dining in town, and visiting the theatre, where I saw there 
was to be a special performance, " under distinguished patron- 
age," which, though not specially set forth, was understood 
to be a troop of particularly lucky diggers from the famous 
Eagle Hawk Gully, Bendigo. I was advised by one of 
my auction friends to try new dining-rooms just opened in 

128 ' life nr victobia. 

Great Collins-street, called the Argus Dining-rooms, from 
their contiguity to the office of that journal ; and about five 
o'clock, when the rain ceased, with a suddenness as if the valve 
of a shower-bath was let fall, I walked out to witness a scene 
not to be equalled in any other city in the world. Swanston- 
street on the one hand, and Elizabeth-street on the other, 
were complete rivers, running in volumes, and with a velo- 
city that was startling to look at, and perfectly impossible to 
cross with safety on foot. In the deep and wide-sloping 
side channels especially, the current was so impetuous that it 
made one giddy to gaze at it as it roared past, empty cases, 
coffee tins, old hats, sardine boxes, discarded clothes, tattered 
mats, butchers' offal, and all the varieties of household filth 
and warehouse abomination hoarded since the previous flood, 
careering frantically on its bosom. I saw a fine horse— one 
of a waggon team — drowned, beyond the possibility of aid, at 
the crossing in front of the Post-office, being taken off his 
legs, partly by fright and partly by the force of a collision from 
a floating mass such as I describe ; and as by the accident 
the ponderous waggon was brought to a stand in the centre 
of the torrent, its wheels got rapidly choked with garbage, 
causing the angry waters to surge up against the body with 
such force that I momentarily expected to see it overturned. 
After a period there was a marked subsidence; when the 
centres of the streets became exposed, presenting a blue 
surface as clean as if they had been washed with a scrubbing- 
brush, but marked by a beach line of stranded odds-and-ends, 
not at all sightly to contemplate. The water-bound citizens 
then commenced crossing on drays at a shilling a head, and 
sporting diggers, like so many Meltonians charging the 
Whissendene, might be seen in full flight, dashing at those 
shrunken municipal brooks, but getting more frequently in 
than over. The next movement observable was an attempt 


on the part of enterprising shopkeepers to establish dry foot- 
crossings by means of pieces of plank or quartering stretched 
from the kerbstones to the street — rickety bridgeways, which 
the impatience of delay caused many people rashly to venture 
on, producing infinite amusement from the strange varieties 
of ludicrous accidents they encountered. 

These floods recur frequently during the winter, and are 
one of the infirmities of which Melbourne can never be 
effectually cured, from the peculiarities of its position. 
Elizabeth and Swanston streets run parallel to each other 
north and south, being nearly level their entire length ; the 
former receiving the entire drainage of the western heights, 
by which it is flanked from end to end, the latter being cir- 
cumstanced precisely in a similar manner with regard to the 
hills on the eastern slope, and both being so little above the 
level of the Tarra as to preclude the possibility of under- 
ground sewerage. Should the plan I proposed to the Cham- 
ber of Commerce — which I shall allude to hereafter — for 
shortening the tortuous course of the Tarra to the bay be 
carried out in its entirety, I make no doubt but that the 
sewerage and drainage of the city may be improved ; but I 
think it requires no great degree of scientific acumen to see 
that it is beyond the scope of engineering ingenuity to place 
Melbourne in the category of well-drained cities, according 
to the Old "World acceptation. However, though Melbourne 
floods are phenomena in their way, and formidable in aspect 
while in full sweep, they are of short duration, and render an 
amount of sanitary service in their brief career which more 
than compensates for their temporary inconvenience. 

I found the new dining-rooms a great improvement on the 
first I tried, in every respect but the space allowed and the 
complexion of the damask. The company at each table 
was so packed that carving was a matter of extreme diffi* 

VOL. I. k 


culty, and the morsels were got to the mouths as if all the 
elbows had stiff joints. The state of the table linen again, 
on the making-a-virtue-of-necessity principle, was not made 
a subject of comment, although by a slight effort of imagina- 
tion the cloth off which my party dined might have been 
taken for a faithful photograph of a leopard-skin, only that 
some of the larger spots were in a state of liquidity. But 
even these, so far from being turned into topics of complaint, 
were converted to the general accommodation, for I observed 
more than one man of the world help himself to mustard 
from a large globule on the cloth, and I would not swear that 
I did not see a nonchalant digger take a careful bread sop 
from a succulent gravy-stain just opposite me. On the other 
hand, the cooking was respectable, and the portions liberal in 
all respects save the vegetable adjuncts ; but with potatoes 
at 6d. per pound, and cabbages " the divil," as a countryman 
of mine remarked, this was not to be wondered at. The 
Argus had not a license, so that the'drinks had to be paid for 
in advance, which gave me an opportunity of learning that 
champagne — if I may be permitted to call it so— rated at 
17s. 6d. per flask, and ale and porter at 2s. 6d. per bottle- 
all change to be taken in cigars. There were no waiter rates, 
nor had the servant-tax in any shape taken root in the 

I found, during dinner, that several of the parties present 
intended going to the theatre, so I waited for the moat 
respectable convoy that was formed, and went to see how the 
Boyal Dane was represented at the antipodes. The evening 
was very dark and dank, and the streets apparently deserted; 
but there were murmurs of voices in the direction of Queen- 
street, and a lurid halo in the sky, which denoted by a murky 
irradiation where the magnet of the night was situated. 
Gabs and < carriages too rattled towards that point, so that 

oonra to the theatbe. 131 

there was no mistaking the way. On making the turn out of 
Bourke-Btreet, one would hare supposed it was to have been 
an out-door representation, in the Champs Elysees fashion, 
from the crowd and the glare of light which was "blown about 
from a number of cans of fat and rags, which did duty as 
gas- lamps ; but these I found to be indispensable, to enable 
the patrons of the drama to distinguish the lines of boards 
and stepping-stones which led from the hard street through 
the mud to the doorways of the temple of Thespis. A great 
many yotaries, however, despising these imitations of gen- 
tility, showed their contempt of them by wading deliberately 
through the slush ; others, in a less discerning state, using 
them alternately. The carriage folk had a special plank, t 
which was altogether insufficient, for the vehicles, like so 
many Itojan horses, each contained a host, reminding me 
too of the hats from which conjurors keep pulling out an un- 
limited succession of cocks and cabbages ; and when you 
would be ready to make oath that the last person had 
emerged, a compressed digger would come out of a corner 
, with a bundle of rumpled satin in his arms, and failing 
to "walk the plank," would carry it in triumph through 
the knee-deep mire to the dress-circle entrance, while some 
of the more distingu6es dames, with the right or privilege 
of u private entree," conducted their admirers through the 
bar of the adjoining tap, where, as a matter of course, 
there was sure to be " a champagne shout" for the com- 

I made my way to the pit as the place from which I could 
have the most comprehensive survey of the house and stage, 
paying 5s. into an aperture which smelled like the bunghole 
of an empty brandy-butt, and getting in return a disfigured 
penny piece as a pass, which I handed to a corrugated Amazon 
gmoking a black pipe, who looked contemptuously at my 



over-decent appearance. As I got into the body of the 
house, I found the chandelier overcast by a dark cloud of to- 
bacco-smoke, and I fancied I could, at intervals, detect the 
tones of a cracked flageolet, a screaming violin, and a flabby 
drum through the tumult of voices above and around me. 
The pit was apparently filled with pert gents, fast tradesmen, 
and mechanics, some few with their colonial wives, but no 
children. The dress circle was crammed beyond sitting pos- 
ture with florid-looking women in too low satin dresses, some 
in their smeared hair, with their pinned bonnets dangling in 
front of the boxes; others crowned with tiaras like rose* 
bushes in full bearing, and all hung round with chains, 
watches, collars, and bracelets of most ponderous manufacture. 
Their lords-in-waiting were habited either in tartan jumpers 
or red worsted shirts, smoking short pipes, and indulging in 
indelicate attentions, which frequently " brought down the 
house" before the rising of the curtain. I saw several 
pendant samples of the style of dress-boot in fashion as 
Eagle Hawk swells got astride the leaning cushions, and 
heard several cordial recognitions, such as, "Damn your bloody 
eyes, Bill, is that you ?" or, " Poll, may me beer-can, how's 
your coppers ?" shouted from side to side. The upper tier, 
as well as I could judge, held more of a medley audience. 
The shrieking Bedouins of the streets mustering strongly, 
often in the capacity of bear leaders to stock riders from the 
interior, and cicerones to a heavy class of digger, who gaped 
and stared in hiccuping admiration at nothing in particular, 
damning by turns every portion of his internal anatomy, 
from the liver all round, " if ever he seed nothin' like it 
never afore." There were also groups of sailors with their 
Dulcineas, who, judging from external appearance, were the 
femmes de chambre of ladies beneath them, sporting their 
cast-off satins, which retained the grease stains much better 


than tlie original dyes in the washing ; and if they were not 
over encumbered with jewellery, they could boast instead a 
species of facial ornamentation not usually put on with a 
brush. There was a tumultuous uproar all the time without 
any lull whatever, made up of all sorts of discordant yells, 
noises, and exclamations, original and imitative together, with 
a stamping and thumping which caused the chandelier to 
quiver ; but in the midst of the hurricane a man in the pit 
was seen to stand up on his seat with his back to the 
orchestra, and gesticulate earnestly, as if to obtain a hear- 
ing. At first his object was misunderstood, and he was 
variously suggested as a " target for an empty bottle," or a 
" subject for cowMding,'' or an " ambassador to the infernal 
regions ;" but there was a certain pertinacious suavity about 
him which at length induced a still silence, and extracted from 
him a profound bow. He then said : " Ladies and gemmen, 
I thank you for your kindness — I am, in fact, obliged to you. 
(Loud cheers.) I suppose you all recollect me ; if not, I beg 
to inform you I am Tim Jones, who kept the shavin'-shop in 
Elinder's-lane. (Applause.) I'm just come from the famous 
Eagle Hawk, where I dug up one hundred and fifty ounces ; 
and I'll be damned for the future if ever I'll shave another 
b— of the lot of ye." (Thunders of applause.) (" Bravo, 
Tim ! what'll you take ?") And a tempest of other 
tender inquiries followed, in the midst of which the curtain 
rose, but Bernardo, Marcellus, and Horatio failed to divide 
attention with Tim Jones until the G-host made his appear- 
ance in an outre* rig, almost as comical as Wright's in " Paul 
Pry ;" then, indeed, there was a roar of laughter, accompa- 
nied by shouts of " Well, I'm blowed !" " Holy Moses !" 
" Does your mother know you're out ?" enough to try the 
gravity of a real dead ghost nineteen centuries old. Mar- 
cellus first, then Horatio, and finally the G-host, came to the 


foot-lights with great obsequiousness, but poor Tom Steele 
himself, the Head Pacificator of Ould Ireland, could not allay 
the uproar; so the scene and the act proceeded in dumb 
show amidst immense applause. 

The first interval was enlivened by renewed pleasantries, 
explosions of champagne, and demands for nobblers, which 
were ministered with wonderful assiduity, to the total exclu- 
sion of oranges and soda-water. Toasts were given in the 
pit, and warmly responded to from the gallery, and healths 
were interchanged in regular digger vernacular across the 
house. Thq second act commenced without its being appa- 
rently noticed until the entrance of Ophelia, which was the 
signal for a tempest of clipping and savoury compliments, 
that admitted of no intermission until the Sling and Queen 
with their train stalked in, when they were greeted with 
ironical applause and Victorian doubles ententes, provoking 
bursts of general laughter, during which an enthusiastic 
god was so impressed with the jolly-good-fellowness of the 
King, that he sent him down a bottle of brandy by the thong 
of a stock-whip from the gallery. So that the second act 
of the Stratford chef d'oeuvre was wound up by an exchange 
of hob-nobbing between the house and the stage. The third 
act was transformed into a most amusing colloquy between 
the Danish Grave-digger and the gold-diggers from Eagle 
Hawk, made up of mutual inquiries about the depth of the 
sinking, and the return to the tub, which so tickled Hamlet 
that he gave up the soliloquy and joined in the joking. After 
this there was a fierce row caused by the accidental falling of 
a brandy-bottle from the gallery into the pit, but which 
was resented as an intentional occurrence. There was at 
first an attempt made to go round and attack the gods in the 
rear, and then an escalade was essayed, in which two sailors 
succeeded in climbing up the pillars which sustain the boxes, 


but instead of a display of bloody hostilities, a festive scene 
ensued, which soon spread into a regular epidemic, during 
which brandy-bottles were let down and others hoisted up 
by ropes made of handkerchiefs, amidst a tempest of toasts, 
sentiments, and hip, hip, hurrahs. The manager at length came 
forward to invoke a hearing, but nobody seemed aware of his 
presence. Then poor Ophelia, with straws in her hair, en- 
deavoured to bring the lunatics to reason, and after a world 
of curtseying, she induced a pause, but as she was about 
uttering the first word of remonstrance, a riotous sailor 
roared out, " Come, give us t Black-eyed Susan,' old gal !" 
which produced such an unconquerable relapse, there was no 
alternative but cut down the remainder of the performance 
to the last scene, where the poisonings and sword practice 
brought the performance to an agreeable conclusion. But 
Hamlet, Ophelia, and the Ghost, in undress, were obliged to 
appear before the foot-lights to bear a pelting shower of nug- 
gets — a substitute for bouquets — many over half an ounce, 
and several of which fell short of the mark into the orchestra. 

Not caring to wait for the afterpiece, I managed, by crush- 
ing and squeezing, to get out, and round to the bar, with a 
great appetite for a brandy spider, but there I was stopped 
again by a dense throng guzzling champagne at the com- 
mand of a half-drunken digger of decent mien and appear- 
ance, who, in my presence, " shouted" two dozen, remarking 
to his guests, as he was throwing down sheaves of notes in 
payment, " Drink on, my boys ; I'm only a poor digger from 

I have no doubt but my description of the scenes in the 
theatre will be set down as extravagant invention, but I pro- 
test most solemnly that the reverse is the contrary; my 
painting is tame and colourless as compared with the reality, 
which would puzzle the pen of a Martin Ghuzzlewit to depict 

136 life nr yictobia. 

in its true light. And as to the pelting of nuggets at 
theatres, circuses, Salles Valentino, it was so common a thing 
in 1853 in Melbourne, that the porters and sweepers were 
often known to gather ounces of the precious metal which 
were scattered about after a popular performance. 



Emigrant Rag Fair— Its Success and Abolition — Large Admixture of the 
Celtic Element — Their Industry and Morality — Government Land Sale 
Reunion — Big Clarke, his Character and Possessions — First Lesson on 
the Land Question — Squatters, their Use and Abuse — Their absurd 
Demands for Compensation — Melbourne Prices for Houses and Lands — 
16,8001 for one Acre — A Contested Election for the City — Tameness of 
the Scene — Contrast between it and an Irish Contest — Scenes on board the 
Geelong Steam-boat — Mode of going to the Theatre in Geelong in 1858— 
My Mishap — My sleeping Neighbours — Their Explanation to prevent 
Misconception — My Dreams. 

Coming across the ferry next morning, to attend the Go- 
vernment land sale, I observed a large crowd in front of the 
Custom-house, towards which people were hurrying from all 
directions. I therefore hastened forward to join the congrega- 
tion, making sure of witnessing something novel and interest- 
ing. It proved to be a new and ingenious device, adopted 
by a newly-arrived crowd of emigrants, for getting rid of 
the superfluities " not wanted on the voyage" or required on 
shore. On landing their luggage, and comparing the rates 
of cart hire, and store rent, with its intrinsic value, they very 
prudently came to the prompt resolution of offering it for 
sale, and abandoning whatever they could not dispose of. 
In conformity with this plan, an impromptu bazaar was 
planned and opened, the boxes containing the indispensable 
necessaries being arranged in lines as benches, on which the 
" not wanted" were placed in double rows back to back, with 

138 live m yictobia. 

upturned lids, strewed with the contents, so that in passing 
along each row the merchandise was fully exposed for in"* 
spection. There was really a brisk and remunerative trade 
doing, much to the disgust of some groups of unwashed 
Jews, who regarded the whole proceeding as an unwarrant- 
able encroachment on their peculiar manor, and very much 
to the grief of the female emigrants, who could not restrain 
their sorrow nor repress their tears on seeing the grinning 
stranger carrying away in triumph a good home-made 
blanket, every thread of which waa spun by their own fin- 
gers, or a bunch of warm stockings of their own knitting, 
intended as a present for the good brother who remitted the 
passage-money for the entire family. Even Fat himself, 
when his price (much to his astonishment) was come to for 
a few pairs of stout brogues, made to order by the village 
cobbler, stole a sorrowful scratch at the back of his head, and 
took a last look at them with a moist eye ere he tossed 
them over to the purchaser. But " sorra use in life" was 
there in admiring the grey frieze coat with the long skirts 
and steel buttons ; you might as well try to lure the Arab 
barb from the Bedouin as coax that garb from my Can- 
naught countryman. 

A new feature was soon after introduced with excellent 
effect — that of the auction system — in which I was informed 
some of my untaught Milesian cousins evinced a tact in 
fencing and knocking down, which could only be accounted 
for by their intuitive skill in the use of the shillelagh. 
However, here again the envious Jews stepped in, compel- 
ling the passive authorities to repress the practice of un- 
licensed auctioneering. They also went the length of erect* 
ing booths adjoining this antipodean Bag Fair, creating rows 
and fomenting disturbances to such an extent that Go- 


vernment were Ipft no choice but abolish the market alto- 

During my short .colonial experience I was much sur- 
prised at finding so large a proportion of the Irish leaven 1 
in the population, which, previous to the gold digging, I 
always understood was three-fourths Scotch, with a good 
dash of English besides, in its lower and even secondary 
ranks. And the surprise was no more than natural, know- 
ing as I did the alluring attractions held out by America to 
Irish emigrants — firstly, in the extraordinary cheapness of 
the rate and shortness of the passage ; secondly, in the low 
price and easy acquirement of land ; and thirdly, in the 
witching lures of consanguinity bo inherent in Celtic bosoms. 
But, notwithstanding these advantages, and the discourage- 
ments of a voyage over five times as long and five times as 
costly, thousands of Irish poured in, independently of those 
who came out as free emigrants, all of whom were absorbed, 
or found profitable occupations immediately after arrival, 
few, if any, contributing to swell the ranks of those dis- 
contented grumblers who were most eloquent when cursing 
H» colony, because they could not find gold on the surface, 
and who were always sure to be found sunning themselves 
holy in the vicinity of the labour market, or propping up 
the portals of the lowest class of public-houses. Perhaps 
the explanation is to be found in the fact that any change 
from the impoverished and degraded condition of the Irish 
peasant on his native soil must necessarily have been one 
for the better, and that therefore, on arrival, he was only too 
glad to embrace the first opportunity that presented itself, 
However, whatever the reason, all impartial observers will 
agree, and statistics will bear me out in the assertion, that 
Irishmen constituted a very small proportion of the loafing 

140 life in victobi de- 

population, or of tbe criminal crowd that filjed the gaols and 
asylums, while I may affirm, without fear of contradiction, 
that the proverbial chastity of the Irish female was nobly 
' sustained by those poor girls who found themselves standing 
alone, without parents or protectors, in the midst of the 
staring contaminations of the Victorian metropolis. 

I reached T t's auction-room fully an hour before the 

preliminary proceedings commenced, and found a large con- 
course of eager people already congregated, amongst whom 
were to be seen the leading notabilities of the day, in every 
rank, grade, and calling, for professors, traders, mechanics, 
squatters, and even day-labourers, made it a point of at- 
tending these monthly reunions ; the wealthy few to pur- 
chase up the whole of the scant supply for speculative pur- 
poses, the moderately endowed to grumble at the impos- 
sibility of obtaining the smallest patch for a homestead, and 
to foster the cry — then breaking the shell — of " Unlock 
the lands !" When a very young man, on my first visit to 
London, I remember that my most importunate desire was 
to rush to the Stock Exchange, and get a full-length portrait 
of that " man made of money," the auriferous Eothschild, 
but I very much doubt if my remembrance will venture to 
maintain that my anxiety to feast my eyes on the " landed 
leviathan," Big Clarke,* was not fully as intense. I had no 
difficulty in finding him. Big and burly, with bushy eye- 
browB, and a snub nose of the middle stature, scarcely pro- 
jecting more than a short black pipe of the true " dudheen 
breed," through which he was said to draw in and exhale the 
very breath of his existence. A passing observer would 

* Mr. Clarke will excuse my familiarity in calling him by his invariable 
title. It is not used in disrespect, and although it is not an emanation of 
royal favour, I am much mistaken if it does not live in history. In no 
other instance of private reference will I again depart from the practice of 
using only the initial and terminal letter of any name referred to. 


pronounce him an ugly man, but, with all his irregularity of 
features, I do not think so, for there is an anxious mobility 
always playing about them which relieves their grotesque- 
ness. Ugliness, I conceive, is not so much a matter of 
physiognomy as of mental expression ; a Phidian face can 
assume the lineaments of a demon or a satyr from the re- 
flexion of a malicious or deformed mind, whereas the Nu- 
midian platter, lit up from within by good-humour and be- 
nevolence, can look pleasing, nay, on occasion, captivating. 
But to return to Big Clarke: without going into minute 
analysis, I will say that his whole aspect goes to prove the 
exception to the general rule by which sagacity and foresight 
are detected, for, looking at his small, retired, twinkling eye, 
you would give him credit for being sharp, quick, and cun- 
ning, without ever conjecturing that the head which con- 
tained them could be capable of profound thought or grand 
conceptions ; yet there are few heads in the southern hemi- 
sphere to compare with it, and those who have the pleasure 
of his acquaintance are fond of quoting poor Oliver's couplet 
in reference to it : 

The people asked, and still the wonder grew 
How one small head could cany all he knew. 

But the wonder which most impressively laid hold of me— 
for, to a limited extent, 1 was an acquaintance — was the 
clear, forcible, and apposite language in which he delivered 
his opinions, the sound, natural logic with which he sus- 
tained his arguments, and the clear, able, and comprehen- 
sive views he could enunciate on the most abstruse and com- 
plicated financial questions, all unlearned, as he admitted 
himself to be, according to the discipline of the schools. 
But his fine inborn ability stands him in stead of scholastic 
acquirements, and even in technical and professional matters 


he is able to manage his worldly business without the inter- 
vention of the lawyer, the surveyor, or the actuary. He 
can draft his own deeds and leases, he can survey and ap- 
portion his own lands, and work out his own calculations 
without error and difficulty ; and if— as a great authority* 
held — success be the most unerring test of ability, Big 
Clarke is undoubtedly an able man, for, in a long and original 
career, it can be justly said of him, u Nihil tetigit quod 
non . . ." — he never made a mistake of any magnitude. He 
often stepped boldly in where others feared to tread from nar- 
rowness of comprehension, and carried off a rich and glittering 
prize ; and, as a summing-up proof of his energy and talents, 
it is only necessary to say, that although he attained the 
middle age of life still a struggling man, with moderate 
means, he is now, in the prime of mellowed manhood, at the 
head of princely possessions and unbounded wealth, the 
Croesus of the southern hemisphere, who, without any 
miserly propensities^ does not spend the income of a second- 
rate English squire, and who, should he live to a green old 
age, in the possession of his faculties, will bequeath to his 
heirs a breadth of territory, an accumulation of treasure, 
very rarely surpassed in the annals of the world. 

I got my first lesson on the great land question in front 
of T— -t's auction mart, and if I failed to comprehend it, 
it was certainly my fault, for I heard it discussed in various 

* O'Connell. 

f Mr. Clarke, like all successful men, has his enemies, and his delight in 
imputing to him the miser's vice, because, forsooth, he does not keep an 
establishment or establishments in accordance with his means — an utter 
impossibility. Mr. Clarke could not ape the Duke of Sutherland if he 
would, no more than the Duke could imitate Mr. Clarke. Mr. Clarke, 
bred and living an humble man for forty years of his life, is now content 
to aspire to the rank of a plain country gentleman for the remainder of his 
career. He is neither profuse nor niggardly. He does not deny aid to a 
deserving friend in distress, nor assistance to him on legitimate enterprise ; 
neither is he obdurate to the demands of " melting charity.** 


shapes, turned over, and rediscussed by sellers and buyers, 
casuists and sophists, special pleaders and plain dealers, land 
sharks and communists. I formed my opinions early in the 
debate as a follower of the picklocks, but I remarked at the 
time that, for the most part, the polemics on my side wan* 
dered from their grand text, " Unlock the lands," and that 
they misconceived or misrepresented the unapproachable 
position of the unoccupied territory, while they injudiciously 
clamoured for an immediate and impossible consummation 
of the question. They argued and pretended to believe that 
the Government of the day was averse from alienating the 
crown lands from selfish and oligarchical ideas, intent on 
discouraging any rush of immigration that might lead to the 
creation of a class of independent yeomen imbued with 
democratic opinions, who would war against aristocratic pre* 
tension and regal supremacy; whereas the true and pal- 
pable state of the case was, the Government, filled with a 
sincere anxiety to bring quantities of land to market in 
order to supplement an insufficient revenue, was unable to 
do so from the state of the survey staff, dwindled down as it 
was by desertions to the gold-fields, and unreeruited by new 
arrivals. It could not possibly meet the inordinate de- 
mand which suddenly sprang up unless it threw the whole 
territory open to individual selection, allowing the pastoral 
or agricultural settler to pick out his farm and plant his 
homestead, perhaps on the surface of a gold-field. Although 
the land radicals, at an early period in the career of the 
colony, initiated a crusade against squatting usurpation and 
monopoly, under their veteran leader John Fascoe Fawkner, 
I should suppose that they had lately become reconciled to 
their continuance, for in all the fierce discussions I heard I 
could not help remarking that the squatters were never 
dragged in invidiously. The abolition of squatterdom and 


unlocking the lands was not regarded as cause and effect. 
The illimitable extent of unoccupied territory was thoroughly 
known and understood as over-aboundingly sufficient to 
meet all the bond fide demand for land that could possibly 
arise for years without encroaching on the runs of the 
squatters, and the voice of the people, in connexion with the 
thunders of the press, were more disposed to hold the Go- 
vernment amenable for the short supply than attribute any 
culpability to the squatters. In fact, if squatters were re- 
garded as a conventional, they were accepted as a necessary 
evil, without which the progress of settlement could neither 
have been extended or expedited. The plough, in the tedious 
gradations of generation after generation, might have sup- 
planted the vegetation of nature in the alluvial meadows of 
the vale of Yarra, or in the fertile plains through which the 
Lodden and the Campaspie meander, but the grassy steppes 
of the distant Wimnera, the remote regions of Gipps Land, 
the rich valleys of Lake Meo in the north-east, and those of 
Colac in the south-west, and the measureless bush-encircled 
districts of the fertilising Murray, would have been still a 
sealed wilderness only for the squatter. As an agricultural 
country, Fort Phillip might have held a small, peaceful, 
happy community of robust farmers, with rosy cheeks and 
good digestions, a few steps higher in the social ladder than 
the Fitcairn Islanders, who would raise their own food, dress 
in domestic manufacture, hear of the world now and then 
from a crippled whaler, and, like the Shetlanders of old, 
most probably keep offering up prayers for the long life of a 
defunct sovereign, even after the birth of an heir-apparent 
to his successor. But only for squatter wool, and squatter 
hides, and squatter tallow, where would have been the ex- 
ports of Port Phillip prior to the discovery of gold ? Would 
the plough have turned up gold on its moulding-board, and. 


if it did, would the scant resources of a small farming com- 
munity have supplied food to an irruption of two hundred 
thousand diggers P 

This was a state of things perfectly well understood, and 
to a certain extent appreciated, accounting, as I supposed, 
for the exemption of the squatters from being mixed up in 
the discussions of the question ; and it is my positive con- 
viction, if they demeaned themselves with reason and de- 
cency, taking no more than fair, legitimate advantage of 
their position, and the splendid opportunity presented by 
the new order of events for accumulating fortunes, they 
would have been a popular rather than a tabooed class. But 
they presented themselves as a modern exemplification of 
the axiom which asserts the invariable difficulty of bearing 
prosperity with propriety. Before the gold discoveries, 
failing to find consumers for their sheep at half-a-crown, or 
their bullocks at 32. a head, they were at the trouble and 
cost k of boiling them down, to strip their bones and extract 
their tallow. Wanting a market for their horses, which 
multiplied in a state of nature in the Bush, they took ad- 
vantage of an occasional ship bound for India to transport 
some batches to that country. But although the diggers 
raised the value of even scabby sheep to 11., and beeves in 
proportion, creating at the same time a boundless demand, 
at the most unprecedented prices, for horses and working 
bullocks, the squatters had the unblushing impudence to 
proclaim their ruin aloud in terms of the most shameless 
mendacity. They exalted their own pretensions to national 
sympathy on a system of antipodean mythology specially 
framed to accord with the marvellous amount of compensa- 
tion they demanded for the trespass of the digger on their 
undefined domains. They denounced him as a ruffian in- 
truder, and while they accepted the magical enhancement 

TOIr. I. L 

146 WTO est TICXOAU- 

which fttfandfd his Advent, they demanded these mill-jmm 
sterling <as, a rttmbuisentgiit for the iafadous damages they 
sustained by his presence. 

Three .millions sterling was the modest amount computed 
by an assemblage of delegates, who elaborated their -calcula- 
tions at the Port Phillip Club Hotel. Three uwlUonssteriing 
www the naoegnisenQes under which Mr. Goodman .and Mr. 
EeHows, in the old eouncil, wanted to bind over the Legis- 
lature when diseusjwyj the New Constitution Bill, before 
they eeeuxled it plenary powese of dealing with ■squatters' 
leases. Three millions steeling tiiey would ham, jperjfc out 
«0fe, if not from -the local lagialatwie, under award ftom the 
imperial privy council, Mr. Goodman df>tai1iT>g the nature and 
estent of squatter griewwe in tamos of vulgar underbred 
flippancy* Mr. Tellows, wder a sfaaqge visitation af ob~ 
liquifcy, ptalgtag hisaaekf to the entire legality ^f their 

At the tin* to which J refer the squatters hedApttahown 
the cloven foot— they were wwt congenially occupied in 
seeping the unejpected Varyest, and the bulk of the people 
wejQB toe busy, as well a* too prosperous, to bother their 
bta&BS about remote political eenauouaetiona, whileeron the 
land gUditene knew there was enough And to apace of un- 
occupied cnown property to gorge them to repletion. Thus 
it was, as I befone said, that the squatters were not nixed 
up in the controversy, while the Government and the Legis- 
lature were by turns implored and bullied to " unlock the 
lands/' on, in other words, to exceed their powers, by decree- 
ing without authority, at the very time when the colony, dis- 
satisfied and disgusted with irresponsible government, in^ 
adequate representation, And a circumscribed franchise, were 
preparing a new constitution for royal and imperial ratifica- 
t^^a^ustitutwn the gosat battle-ground of which was 

YALUE OF H0BSSS JL$1> last»s or 1853. 14T 

the unlimited right of .dealing with kmd. Yet the people and 
the press wee© insane .enough to -agitate for a partial anti- 
cipation of the grand charter on which they were -contented 
so vest itheir future rights and liberties. Tfaae, while spurn- 
ing 4fee i»beeilities of irresponsible rule, they .demanded an 
arbitrary «ad unconetitntionai exercise of its power. 

iFhis long digression I felt to be ttnavoidable, for the »naost 
cursory, desultory notice of Tiotoria wantmg a reference to 
the land -question in all the stages of its progress, would, to 
use the threadbare •simile, be Mke thepHay of Hamlet without 
tise Brimee in any of the acts. Let as (now proeeed to the 
a«einfin**o0m, <wliere T— t himself <was in the pulpit, 
dilating «n the 'sine, the bemrty, and the vafhie of a large 
oe ar ag a t ed iron store—eighty feet by thirty— imported by the 
represBntatrues of Moses and Son as a place of business, but 
which was now otfsred Cor sale, as that firm had secured feed 
premises 'far their immense business. from the extraor- 
dkiary>accnHialatio]a««d unceasing arrivals of merchandise, 
and the tutter comparative dearth of stores, this iron house 
was MBght after with great avidity, the «empetitio& being 
both keen and spirited ; bat it was at length knocked down 
to n friend x>f nine, Mr. H-— y I^h— n, for 18001. odd, 
ihaoaeb prise ibeing, I snppose, somewhere about 30GZ. Mr. 
L~-fcr-*n ocadd have seenreda profit of thirty per oent. on the 
amount within an hour of his purchase, and he had not fully 
completed its erection when he was offered for it a yearly 

rent/of 18002., for a term of seven years, by Messrs. B >t 


Uhe next morsel in the programme was the celebrated St. 
Kilda paddock, the property of Mr. D— — y, of the firm of 
D— -y 0— k — s, containing about ten acres, and purchased 
a lew months before for 4000Z.— a price then considered 
excessive. But from the number of land and building specu- 


lators coveting it, so vast a change was wrought in its esti- 
mated value, that Mr. D ■ y had numerous offers of 80007.* 
and one or two of 10,0007., before the proceedings com- 
menced. But as he could afford to nurse a good thing quite 
as well as any other person in the colony, he declined all 
these temptations, fixing his minimum at 12,000?., and 
actually, while he was beset at the door by a host of private 

bidders, Mr. T 1 knocked it down to the nod of 22,000/. 

These two instances will help my friends and readers in this 
upper world to form some idea of the value their cousins in 
the southern hemisphere set upon their country lands and 
town houses in 1853 ; and, as a further aid, I will superadd 
a few other instances from the Government land sales of that 
morning. At North Melbourne, then a naked hill, crowned 
with the Benevolent Asylum, nearly two miles from the 
Post-office, anything rather than a desirably-situated or 
circumstanced district, allotments sold as quick as they were 
offered, at the rate of 15007. and 18007. per acre. On the 
eastern. hill, on its remote hips, at double the. amount; 
and a quarter-acre allotment in Bay-street, Sandridge, was 
purchased by the proprietor of the " Sandridge Inn" at the 
unheard-of price of 42007., or 16,8007. an acre. Country sec- 
tions, as I heard, also fetched extraordinary prices, though 
the purchasers had no. other knowledge of their situation 
or quality save that indicated by large, unauthenticated 
maps, which, in the dearth of draughtsmen in the colony, 
underwent trifling periodical alterations and additions, some- 
thing like the annual winner of the Derby formerly in 
sporting journals, who got a star on the forehead, a grey 
fetlock, a switch tail, or a white hind-leg, as occasion re- 

I went off early from the auction to witness the proceed- 
ings at an election for the city, contested on that occasion 


by Mr. John Thomas Smith, the mayor, and Mr. Lachlan Mac* 
Irinnon, one of the principal proprietors of the Argus. With 
two such competing candidates I calculated on a spirited 
contest in its most comprehensive sense, and having received 
an early education in contested elections in my native 
country, where I imbibed a relish and reverence for those 
rollicking manifestations invented to sustain the glory of our 
constitution in Church and State, by means of a profuse and 
unlicensed distribution of gold, whisky, and blood, I went 
with all the feelings of a hungry man to a tavern to com- 
pare notes between the sayings and doings on and around 
the Melbourne hustings and those of my own dear old 
borough of Sligo. 

Never was a hungry man more disappointed than I was 
on reaching St. Patrick's Hall, for, instead of a pair of ex- 
cited mobs bantering each other at times with good jokes, 
and battering each other the next moment with stout shille- 
laghs — instead of bands, banners, and the living thunder of 
human voices — I found a miserly array of empty benches, a 
straggling muster of lukewarm adherents making ludicrous 
efforts to parody enthusiasm, and still-born attempts at de- 
livering themselves of jokes. It was more like a temperance 
tea-fight than a hustings exhibition, and I could not repress 
a sigh as I thought of the old Grown Court in the Hall of 
Justice at Sligo, and called to mind the stirring scenes in 
which I myself was on all occasions a stirring actor. I ex- 
pressed my astonishment to an intelligent person beside me, 
but he told me that the days of political or party enthu- 
siasm in Melbourne passed away with the discovery of gold. 
"In former times," he said, "the Orangemen and the 
Bibbonmen congregated in numbers on their several festivals, 
and originated exciting scenes of riot and injury. People, 
too, could be got together to organise parties for hunting 


down bushraiigfifrs,, or to agitato for separation} ; bat now-a- 
days> these, is nothing cam bring a crowd, together except to 
form a gold mining company, or to attend ike exhifeitioA of 
a> big auggett" And moat certainly the scene before me waa 
a demonstrative proof of what he told- me. The united acU 
herentsof the rival candidates scarcely numbered a hundred, 
and fifty unisberested spectators in addition would! make 
up the number of the entire gathering* Although there was 
the cry of " Unlock, the lands" and " Constitutional; go* 
vevmnetit," the speaking was tame, dull, and monotonous^ 
far below the level of Old World mediocrity, . whieto am y in 
tome' measure be accounted for by the identity of seniimeart 
on these subjects by both candidates, who wove obfiged to 
travel over the sttmo tr^ck on; the ofcl beaten grounds When 
the show of hands was called- for, they arose laaigwfty, as* if 
they w ^^e pulled up by rusty wires ; and when' the* poH caa&e 
to be demanded, it was asked in a tone of timid ifcquest* as 
If the applicant were ashamed of his itffcerferenee. 1 rente*?* 
feer that 1 Mr: John Thomas' Smith had the show of hands 1 , and 
that 1 he* waa finally deelsred elected by a considerable; ma- 
jority ; and- 1 had 1 subsequently an opportunity of judging 
that' Mr. Smith made an excellent member aB well as an* 
incomparable mayor, although, like all successful men 1 , he 
came in rer his meed of obloquy. 

The election proceedings' were so brief, I was enabled to 
catch the evening steamboat fot Oeelong*. 1 wra not env 
ettmberod with luggage, navrag'only a pair of seeks, a revolver; 
and a shillelagh'; even my watch I left ia charge of a* frieml 
who- could' not' claim any affinity ; and my fundto I limited 
to* my mere* travelling charges, as- there was a party of 
friendV— young men accustomed to a smoother liffe-~afc work 
in BaUkrat who I knew would supply all my wants in- case* of 
necessity. The "packet" was packed by & motley crowd 


fore and aft, and filled to the hatches with merchandise, for 
at that period: all the Ballarat supplies went by way of Gee- 
long, the upper portion of the Bacchus Marsh route being 
wholly impracticable for teams'. I observed that there were 
two gay wedding parties on board bound for Gteelong, which 
was then the favourite resort for young couples to spend the 
honeymoon in. Before we got well clear of the shipping in 
fiobson's Bay, both these patties seemed to have amalga- 
mated, and' by a mutual compact to regard aft tfre remainder 
of the passengers as their guests, as if come by invitation on 
a pleasure-trip in a yacht hired and found with all the good 
things of the colony to celebrate the Joint festival. They 
were unceasing in their attentions, and irresistible in their 
importunities to "drink," leaving it very much* like the 
Yankee alternative; * either to liquor or fight/** and no more 
ready source of quarrel could have been selected than for an 
independent party to call a round of drink and insist on 
paying for it. The happy bridegrooms ordered the "best 
tea*' the boat could afford, and in their anxiety to furnish 
the board in style, they pressed into the service a pair of 
Cochin fowls, the dear purchase of an uxorious farmer from 
the Barabool Hills, remarking, as if it were an accidental 
discovery, that "the poor birds were carried oflf by an 
attack of sore-throat." When the meal was served, the 
captain, to humour the whim and " keep the peace," abdi- 
cated' his tween deck functions to the bridegrooms', who in- 
stalled themselves at the top and bottom of the table, and at 
a very early stage of the entertainment voted the aromatic 
infusion a vile drug, ordering it to be removed and replaced 
by the morepopularfhrids— champagne, and brandy, &c. For- 
tunately, however, for the pockets of the hosts and the 
health of their eonetfamed guests, there were only a few 
bottles of poisonous stuff, miscalled champagne, ott board ; 

152 , LIFE IN YI€T0EIA. 

but the quantity of ale, porter, brandy, and Old Tom con- 
sumed in cups and saucers was, in the language of a table 
neighbour, ." a caution." We had abundance of loose songs 
and coarse jokes, good healths and strong speeches, and I 
am inclined to think the festive scene would have been fur- 
ther diversified by unpleasant proceedings, only that we 
made a quick trip, which ended before the company was 
wound up to " conflict pitch." I had the curiosity to ascer- 
tain from the steward that the entertainment cost 631. odd. 
exclusive of the fowls, for which the farmer demanded 121., 
notwithstanding, as was observed by one of his customers, 

" that the bloody b chawed up one, to his own cheek, 

and swallowed five pounds' worth of tucker* besides." The 
length of the bill, however, had not the effect of damping 
the fire of hospitality, for the whole party, with the exception 
of the farmer, were invited and earnestly pressed to ad- 
journ to Mack's Hotel for a wind up ; and I believe a few 
congenial spirits accompanied them, but I took the direc- 
tion to the Boyal Mail Hotel, to which I was recommended, 
and where I found a clean and cheerful coffee-room, with a 
blazing fire, and a small, respectable party. 

As it was dark when I arrived, and heavy rain had com- 
menced falling, I postponed my tour of the city until morn- 
ing, but my resolution of remaining at home for the re- 
mainder of the evening was overcome at the instance of my 
new acquaintances, who were all bound for the theatre, to 
attend the benefit of a deserving young actress, an inmate of 
the hotel at the time. I pleaded costume, but was overruled, 
although the remainder were dressed with a rigid exactness, 
as if they had gone through a mangle and were unused to the 
process. There was only one deviation in this laudable 

* Tucker is the designation given to food in general—*, e. eating and 
drinking in Victorian low life. 


parody on evening attire from that in vogue in this upper 
world, and that was in the nether garments ; the gentlemen 
having their pantaloons crammed into Napoleons, while the 
ladies buried their tiny feet and tapering ankles in lumbering 
Wellingtons. On the approach of the hour, the coffee-room 
door was thrown open, and a big man with a sou' -wester and 
jack-boots, that seemed to reach to his arm-pits, announced 
that he was ready to take them to the " thayathur." Imagin- 
ing that he was a Jehu, I tendered my services to a young 
lady to assist her into the carriage, but her ringing laugh 
was followed by the explanation that the big man with the 
sou' -wester was employed to carry the ladies seriatim on his 
back to the scene of our evening's amusement. Moat of the 
gentlemen of the party were acquainted with their bearings ; 
but in my dark ignorance, before I had proceeded two hundred 
yards, I plopped straight down into an abominable chasm, 
which I thought at first would engulph me to the chin. It 
is unnecessary to say that I got a benefit which sufficed for 
the night, and I returned to the hotel, to get myself regularly 
scraped and rubbed down in the stable, and after making a 
compact for drying and brushing my clothes overnight, I re- 
tired to my dormitory. 

The few houses built before the diggings generally con* 
tained some large, spacious apartments, as building materials 
and labour were then moderate, but in the crush which fol- 
lowed they were all divided and subdivided, particularly in 
hotels, for rooms " not big enough to whip a cat in" were 
just as costly as those of more ambitious pretensions, the 
partitions being invariably of the most flimsy description, as 
well from motives of present economy, as because the general 
belief was that the diggings would only be temporary. My 
bedroom, I soon discovered, was a moiety of a larger apart- 
ment, with a bed laid alongside an undulating partition, and 

154 xifb nr TIOTOBIA. 

a basin and ewe*' enveloped in an Oxford-grey rubber on the 
wind*>WM»at, I crept quickly into the blankets, in orderto 
abandon' my clothes' to the scullion, in wasting for themy but 
before I got* soundly asleep I became conscious of the entry 
of two people into the adjoining room. At first I. did not mind 
the noise and conversation, but I soon became aroused tea 
thorough perception of the nature of the fun by a game of 
romps, which, after a series of bursts, was paotutily smotheted 
for an instant, as the parties seemed- to tunable in ftiendfy 
embrace' m a bed lying parallel withy and clos* by, man*. 
Next moment, however, it began; to 1 develop itself m an&thwr 
phase; wben, deeming it no more than neighbourly to notify 
my contiguity, I gave a couple of sharp dry hems} and y in 
de&ult of attention, rapped with' my knuckles' an a sta nd ard 
post which supported the dividing screen; <<; Oh, dont be 
atemed, eaptin," exclaimed a male voice, coolly, from the 
other side ; "don't fret your narves in the least* me an Stan 
ismaa? an wife— riglar licensed mates. — Ain't we^ pet P' te 
his 1 eeaofpaiakm " Come, give us a smack, duck,, an tell the 
gemman yourBelf it's aH right, less he loses his nightterests 
an ril g& an* grope for the brandy-bottled I interfered no 
further in the night's amusements, but I had. very vmi 
dreams that the bcwady^bettle was discovered), and that their 
slumbers were vary fs&fMtiAf broken. 

a Morarnra peeb at mt seeefug ueighbottbs. MB 


A Morning' Peey at my deeping Nelgbtoott^CMoag^Kii Aspect i* 1«5$ 
and its future Pretentions — Mistake oft its Patrons in not having their 
first Railway to Ballaratt— Bullock and Horse-teams to the Diggings— 
Their respective Bates and 1 Advantages— »fy Start rbr BatiaTat— Adven- 
ture at Batesppad— Escape from* a Bumtaangw— The Basin of the Biw* 
won — O'Meara's Piiblic — The Occurrences of the Evening— Diabolical 
Attempt of a Brace* of Fbotpadff— Their Bloodless Defeat— Make some 
new AtfojiakifcuMef — Oh* next Day's JoiuiMy— An AnstwHan Shepherd 
— Russell's Station — Human Nature versus unanimated Nature — Oat 
Police Station— Experiment in the Admixture of Tirgm Water with 
Brandy— insisted .by Her Majesty's Haft-Boa^ who carries* onr Luggage 
over the Bogs— Watson's Public — The Company there, and their Pro- 
ceedings — Overtake a Party of Sailors bound for the Diggings — Spend 
the Night together a* Buimiftgyong. 

As the morning bell rattled on the lobbies,, my door was 
unceremoniously opened, and my clothes, marvellously reausr 
citated, were laid in a bundled state on the foot of my bed. 
I made my toilet quickly,, and finished a hurried breakfast 
before the general company had congregated, wishing to take 
a survey of the town before my start. This I fixed for two 
o'clook, having ascertained that I could not comfortably 
reach Watson's public — over forty miles dbtant^-im & day's 
walk, as the ground was in parts very hilly y and in others 
wet and sloppy ; I therefore arranged to make my first halt 
at a publie called the " Ten Mile House," though in reality 
it was over twelve feom Geelong. On going, through the 
hall my attention was attracted by a boisterous racket on the 


stairs, caused by a pretty young girl and a gay, whiskered 
Lothario, who by turns were chasing each other up and 
down in screaming laughter. At the first glance I some- 
how put them down as my restless neighbours, and the 
moment the girl caught sight of me, by a similar species of 
intuition, I suppose, she recognised me also, for she dropped 
the cap which she had just pulled from her partner's head,' 
and darted round the landing like a bird on the wing. I 
should much rather she waited, for I entertained no disagree* 
able remembrances on the score of my fitful slumbers, and 
would have been delighted to contemplate a young person 
endowed with so much animal spirits. The man was as- 1 
tonished at the sudden flight, first looking up in the direc- 
tion of the retreat, and then turning round to confront me 
in surly silence, intended to convey, " Who the devil are you, 
come to stop our larking ?" 

I walked out, or rather jumped about like a man leaping 
from tuft to tuft on a shaking bog, for my English readers 
must know there was no other style of progressing through 
the streaming mud-thoroughfares of the great city of Qeelong, 
then firmly believed to be the embryo capital of the colony, 
and certainly, notwithstanding the depth of its muck or the 
yawning aspect of its cavernous mire cisterns, or the over- 
hanging banks of the frightful gullies, designed for convey- 
ing its sewage, there was much to admire in the delightful 
position of the town. Seated on the high and healthy eleva- 
tion along the south-west side of Gorio Bay, backed and 
flanked by a most fertile country, and fronted by a quickly 
shelving beach that admitted the close approach of good 
sized vessels, Geelong was only wanting in a river like the 
Tarra to support its antagonistic pretensions to Melbourne 
as a mere city site, and even wanting the river, having such 
a gold-field as Ballarat within seventy miles, and an illimit- 


able extent of auriferous country still further to the west, 
Geelong might have proved a formidable rival, if instead of 
exhausting their energies and resources on an unnecessary 
railway to Melbourne, its citizens had directed their attention 
and enterprise to deepening the channel leading to the har- 
bour, and constructing a railway to the great western gold- 
field ; or rather I would reverse the order, in first constructing 
a railway to Ballarat, and leaving the deepening of the 
channel to a later period, for during some years subsequent 
to which I write, merchandise could have been carried from 
Hobson's Bay to Geelong at as small a freight as to Mel- 
bourne; and even at the present day the expense of dis- 
charging from Port Henry to Geelong is very little in excess 
of that from Hobson's Bay to the metropolis, with its deep 
water-piers and railways to the contrary notwithstanding. 
Yes, the Geelongese have made an irretrievable mistake ; in 
vulgar parlance, "they have put their foot in it." Even 
though they may ultimately get, which I very much ques- 
tion, their separate trunk line of government railway, they 
never can, by any possible exertions, create such another 
opportunity as the one they so blindly neglected. Had they 
a line of railway now to Ballarat instead of to Melbourne, 
they would be the natural monopolists of the vast and in- 
creasing trade called into life by the wondrous discoveries of 
Arrarat and Pleasant Yalley, instead of being cut out by 
little outlying coast villages like Belfast, Portland, and "War- 
nanbool ; and. I am impressed with the conviction, too, that 
was the Geelong line opened for traffic, to Ballarat on the 
day in which it was opened for amusement to Williams- 
town, that an extension thence to Castlemaine, Bendigo, and 
the Murray would have anticipated the wonderful direct 
trunk line which has cost so much talk, and will swallow 
such countless thousands. 


Im 18*3, all the Belkrat supplies went forward, through 
Eteekng; the mail, also, was forwarded by that voorte, and 
the aaaaitai came dawn by it. . Im sect, it was the only line 
fop trade, for the Banoua Marsh approach was not yeetured 
eneran by horsemen, except in tbe flvnmer season. There 
was a great deal ef business bustle about the pier as I took 
wty morning's atrefl, numbers of large decked lighters and 
moderate- aiaod *saasels discharging freight from Melbourne 
and Hobaen'a Bay. Them was also Aa\<aetive stir of business 
peiramng the town-; long strings of ibulloek teams, some eight 
yoke strong, leaving with inountajps ef miscellaneous mer- 
chandise, guided by hirsute mermen, only visible from the 
waist upwards, but audiblefor miles -from the vociferous pitch 
Qf •tiieir blasphemous objurgations. There 'were also long 
streams of bullock Yearns coming in empty, but at no quicker 
rate, ahedfing scales ef dry mud to make room for fresh 
da«p ones ; the mermen in a tike external condition, but 
uaifike &eir brethren outward bound, they plied the whip 
atone, with fa loud, detonating crack and flesh-tearing cut, 
miAmaAj husbanding their Ungual resources and maledic- 
tions for thereto* joivney. There were also long strings 
of bullock trains standing qwietfy in long Tanks by the 
street aides, in front ef merchants' stores and warehouses, as 
the bags and boxes, barrels and cases were being piled upon 
the waggons without the slightest regard to the poor animals, 
whose lank empty Hanks and peaked hip-bones pleaded 
eloquently for consideration, some standing and gazing late- 
rally with a sort of stupid intelligence at the proceedings, 
and others from exhaustion lying in the mire, chewing the 
cud with a resignation seemingly as patient as if they were re- 
posing en clean dry oaten straw, munching mouthfbls of sweet 
new-mown hay. The price of carriage per ton of 2000 lb. to 


SaOarat was 4KB,, haying &lkn from 76J., the jafcea of the 
previous year ; and the average time occupied in ike journey, 
tatingwintcr and summer together, was about fifteen day*, 
the distance being only seventy nuke. But then portions 
of -theroad weae so impracticable that the entice loads had 
often to betaken and earned piecemeal to distances where 
the ground might be found 'aufficaen% firm liar fmBing. 
These were only few home teams in 1868, as horses were 
fbwad unable to bear the hardships of the road, and offered 
too strong temptations to*the thieves who then infested the 
cou nt ry, dming arearing, though a very /dangerous and pre- 
carious taade. However, when horse teams were Bought 
after they commanded at least one-third higher rates, for 
they only took light loads, and travelled with comparative 
expedition. The conveyances, too, were mare mauve and 
water-tight, and the carters more reliable and careful. 

I made some inquiries relative to the price of town allot- 
ments, and found that they followed close upon -the heels of 
those in Melbourne, with an increasing •demand, for the 
Qeelongese have -evermore been load and eloquent in ex- 
tolling the charms of their city and its environs, and in pre- 
dicting the sunburst which, on a future day, as certain to 
irradiate and bathe her in a sea of glory. They claim the 
possession of every blessing which can render a community 
contented and prosperous, and deny the existence of any evil 
which can make life irksome or unprofitable. If you express 
yourself in terms of pity because the Barnon did next inter- 
sect the city, a host of citizens would hasten to assure yen it 
is not a circumstance to be at all lamented, "for there is 
much better water to be had at every back doer at very 
tariffing sinking." If you hint a mild compliant about the 
midnight tormentors, you are snappishly informed that tbew 

160 life ts YICTOBIA. 

are no such nasty insects indigenous to the Pivot City*— that 
you must have carried the fleas or mosquitoes in your tra- 
velling-rug, and transported the hugs from the beautiful 
capital— always mentioned in underlined accentuation de- 
noting irony. And whatever the citizens assert the local 
press swear to, so that by the dint of energetic and exagge- 
rated eulogies, Geelong has come to "assume a value though 
it has it not," and the Geelongese, from the effects of inces- 
sant repetition, are so familiarised with the deception, that 
they have become at length sincere believers in the mental mi- 
rage of their own creation, continuing incurable monomaniacs, 
buried in delusion so deeply beyond the alleviating reach of 
a lucid interval, that I religiously conceive nothing short 
of an earthquake, engulphing the Barrabool Hills, Mount 
Moriac, and Gorio Bay, will render them rational members of 

At two o'clock precisely, after a light lunch, I took my 
stick, and set out on my tour to the gold-fields, intending to 
proceed from Ballarat by the Eureka and the Jim Crow 
ranges to Mount Alexander and Forest Creek, and thence 
to Bendigo, returning home by M'lvor. I resolved, if pos- 
sible, to travel, while on the road, alone, and as a preparation 
for an inspection by the knights of the road, I put a little 
silver in one waistcoat pocket, balancing it with a penknife 
and a half-sovereign in the other, by way of showing that I 
was an unsophisticated wayfarer, but stowing away, I hope, 
with a pardonable degree of hypocrisy, the few bank-notes I 
carried in a ragged old newspaper in my coat tail-pocket, 
where I correctly surmised they would be most likely to 
elude discovery. Like the nascent environs of Melbourne, 

* The Pivot City is a sobriquet invented by the citizens of Geelong to 
symbolise it as the point on which the fortunes of the colony would culmi- 
nate and revolve. They also invented several other original terms — a phrase- 
ology christened by the Melbourne press as the Geelongese dialect 



those of Geelong were surveyed, lined out, and corner- 
pegged to a boundless extent, every allotment almost con- 
taining a notice that it was intended for public accommoda- 
tion ; but the terms, I was given to understand, were not 
framed on the most inviting basis. Ashby, the northern 
outskirt of Geelong, is most agreeably situated on elevated 
ground stretching along the western shore of Corio Bay, and 
must come in for a wing of the sunburst whenever that phe- 
nomenon is disclosed to the world. 

I crossed a bleak waste, after leaving Ashby, pock-pitted 
with shallow water-holes, and then ascended a high sloping 
range of arable land, fenced in and partially cultivated, over 
which the main road to the interior was laid out. The soil 
was stiff and heavy in its natural state, but I remarked in 
the enclosures under the plough that it became more mouldy 
and friable, giving promise of great future fertility. Pro- 
ceeding along the crown of this ridge for some distance, I 
arrived at a point where I got a most commanding and ex- 
pansive view, including Corio Bay, the highly cultivated 
country to the east and south of Geelong, the Pivot City in 
its skeleton frame, the fertile ranges called the Barrabool 
Hills, and more immediately under me the picturesque and 
garden-like basin of the Barwon, with its rich unctuous soil 
clothed in grassy verdure, or mantling in luxuriant herbage, 
with here and there a thick clover paddock stocked with high- 
bred cattle and a comfortable timber-sheltered homestead, 
smiling embosomed between its snug, haggard, and neat 
outhouses. I could scarcely believe I was looking down on 
a new settlement in a country of yesterday, it bore so much 
the garden aspect of an olden colony of agriculturists, where 
all the improvements in the primitive science of tillage had 
been handed down from generation to generation, until they 
blended in ultimate perfection. "What a contrast did it not 

TOIi. I. H 


present, in its peaceful, plentiful, and happy seclusion, to the 
wrangling, jostling, battle of life going on within a few short 
miles of its borders ! 

There was very little timber on these hills, and in the 
ravines where the surface drainage cut channels through the 
natural sod a depth of fine dark loam was disclosed capable 
of producing any crop of grass or grain. The slopes trend- 
ing down to the banks of the Barwon were of the most 
pleasing configuration, clothed in a delightful garniture of 
emerald sheen; and I experienced an ecstasy of admiration 
as I came to a bold brow, where I saw clustering below me 
the unpretending hamlet of Batesford, reposing in a rich 
alluvial meadow sparsely bordered with nice trim cottages 
and neat gardens. As I sauntered along, giving way to a 
natural love for. rural beauty, I managed so far to keep clear 
of tracks and paths by which the waggons and wayfarers 
were passing and travelling, but at this point I had no alter- 
native but go on to the beaten road leading into the village, 
very thankful it was so close at hand, as a heavy shower was 
just impending. It began falling as I entered the village, 
where I soon reached an old-fashioned house with a deep 
verandah, partly embowered with creepers, which afforded 
entertainment as well as shelter. 

Batesford was not much of a stopping place. Being so near 
Geelong — four miles and a half— -it was too short for a 
stage; and only six miles and a half from O'Meara's public— 
a regular diggers' house of call— it did not attract great 
crowds of swipers. The shower, however, soon collected a 
goodly few under the verandah and within the tap, and 
wherever a few were gathered together in those daya strong 
drinks soon circulated. I scarcely had sidled into a position, 
when a rough fellow on a canvassing tour addressed me, say- 
ing, " What's yours P" I was first at a loss, but he soon 


relieved me. " Come, brandy or beer, mate, it's my shout ?" 
" Thank you," I replied, " I'm not inclined for a drink just 
now." " Tou be b— *d," was his quick rejoinder. So I 
mentioned "Brandy!" in haste, from pacific promptings, 
which dispelled his frown. While this shout Was going 
down, we had an amusing scene growing out of a bit of 
trading between a big local butcher and a Scotch shoemaker 
on his way upwards with a sack of his own manufacture. 
The butcher took a fkncy to a huge pair of ankle-boots, 
which Sandy said " would na fit him," with a dry smile, 
which the other took as an imputation on his foot, " a re- 
gular whopper, an* no flies," as a bystander sententiously 
remarked, to the further indignation of the butcher, who 
wagered a " shout round" he would pull them on, and pay 
for them too. " Weel," said Sandy, " an' you pay for them, 
ye'r weelcome to pull theer guts oot." On these terms the 
bet was soon tied, and the hutches, after throwing his apron 
aside, kicking off his old Bluchers, called for a pint of ale, 
and then sat down with his back to the door-post to perform 
the operation, surrounded by the entire group, pretending to 
take the most anxious interest in the wager. His first essay 
convinced him that he was placed in rather a dubious posi- 
tion, for before making a decided effort he called for soap, 
and pftfeeeded to take off the stocking, a task of no small 
difficulty, for it peeled off with a degree of reluctance, as if 
it considered itself incorporated with the system from a long 
tenure of undisturbed possession. But even soft-soap, so 
efttocioes in certain emergencies, was of little avail — he 
pftdled, and strained, and puffed, and muttered curses amidst 
jeers and encouragement, jokes and jibes, until, as Sandy 
exclaimed, " he pulled the twa lags oot o' the blessed boots," 
and came thwack with his head against the door-jamb, pro- 



yoking a thunder-clap of laughter, under coyer of which I 

There was a wide, long bridge across the river, then swollen 
with a full volume of water, and immediately beyond it the 
hills again presented their steep, green slopes, disfigured and 
cut up by the deeply indented waggon tracks, which wound 
upwards in serpentine coils. When I reached the top, and 
took a backward look on the little village, seated, as it were, 
in the bottom of a punch-bowl, I was still alone, for I had 
left precipitately before the loser's shout was called for, and 
most of the company, I learned, were downwardsbound. The 
afternoon was clear, and I started off again at a rapid rate in 
a line to keep me somewhat clear of the thoroughfare which 
began spreading out in innumerable tracks over the wide, 
flat, watery waste on which I had now entered. This inhos- 
pitable-looking plateau seemed of great extent, possessing, 
however, a much better soil than its surface appearances 
would indicate, and from its elevated position being easily 
susceptible of thorough drainage and reclamation. Anxious 
to get oyer this bleak and dreary waste, I stepped out at my 
best pace without diverging, to avoid the numerous water- 
pools, so that my water-tights were frequently submerged 
above their tops. I was desirous, too, as candour is ex- 
pected, to reach O'Meara's before the gloaming, contented to 
defer my interview with the corps of gentlemen at large to a 
later opportunity. As dusk supervened I could descry the 
public hull down — as sailors say — about a mile and a half 
to the northward, and shortly afterwards, while straining my 
eye to see whether it was a star or a lamp that was glisten- 
ing in front of it, I was startled by a smart plash in the 
water-hole over which I had only, jumped the instant before, 
and, on turning round, I discovered a youngish man getting 
to his knees on the bank. I marvelled how, considering the 


nature of the ground, he could have approximated me so 
stealthily ; but I did not hesitate in divining his intention, 
nor could he entirely hide a certain air of confusion, discom- 
posure, and disappointment, indicative of detection and lost 
prey. I recognised him as one of the party under the 
verandah, an athletic young fellow, unencumbered with 
" swag,"* as it is termed, beyond a polished walking-stick, 
most probably a sword-cane with a leaden end. I entertain 
no manner of doubt but that he dogged me cautiously from 
Batesford — a proceeding of no difficulty, as I rarely look 
behind — and taking advantage of the failing light and my 
lonely isolation, he made a tiger pounce, intending to fell 
me, but jumping short, was foiled as I found him. I stooped, 
nevertheless, to assist him, but he leaped to his legs without 
thanking me, and then, without either practising stealth or 
ostentation, I took my revolver from my breast-pocket and 
carried it in my hand at full cock. I failed in opening a 
conversation with my new companion, for he proved incor- 
rigibly taciturn, though not altogether devoid of politeness, 
for in different spots he was courteous enough to offer me 
precedence— -delicate attentions I felt constrained to decline 
for prudential reasons. At length, clearly seeing he was 
auspected, and that his time for business was short, as we 
were approaching the public, he made a short halt, and drew 
a stroke, not quicker, however, than I drew my pistol, for I 
anticipated an attack before parting. " You're not going to 
fire ?" he exclaimed. " Most assuredly," I replied, " unless 
you move off directly." " Well," said he, " I'll please you, 
though the road's wide enough for two ;" adding, as he 
widened the distance betwixt us, " We'll meet again afore 
long." I could see that he too had a pistol in his breast, 
but I suppose, in the first instance, he deemed its use unne- 

* " Swag" means portable luggage that can be carried on the person. 

166 xiws rer yiotobia. 

cessary ; and, in the second, either apprehended that the 
report might reach the house, or that the charge got wet in 
the splash. 

I soon got close to my destination, which brought to mind 
the descriptions of floating Chinese residences I had read of, 
as it seemed to ride at anchor in an ocean of fluid mud that 
glistened lazily under the light of a murky lamp. I made 
two semi-circuits round the shore without being able to see 
a dry approach, and then waited the advance of some bul- 
lock drays, hoping to reach the threshold by hanging on 
behind. In this expectation I was also disappointed, for I 
found that they* always camped out, and that when the 
driver or his companions wanted to drink, they left the 
teams standing on dry ground, and strode through the slush 
themselves. I had, therefore, no alternative but follow the 
example, walking in the wake of a single man, who, I could 
see, half doubted my honour. While stamping the mud off 
his boots at the door, he cried out, " Fill us a nobbier- 
dark ; what's yours, mate ?" to me. I thankfully declined, to 
his evident amusement, for his grin expressed " green," 
almost audibly, as he took a quick up-and-down survey of 
the rara avis who could refuse gratuitous drink in the colony. 
He then took up the thick-bottomed tumbler with cone* 
inverted interior, and slowly surging its shallow contents 
from side to side with a castor-oil look of disgust, he said,. 
" "Well, mate, you're bent on your own destruction to be a* 
squandering of your liquor this way. Damn it," dropping: 
the irony, " can't you afford a nobbier that'll wet the tongue 
on both sides for a shilling?" But without waiting for a 
reply from the landlord, he threta down the nobbier with one 
hand and the coin with the other, and stalked off with an air 
of offended majesty. 

Though the house was called O'Meara's, the present land- 


lord was a thorough Highland Gelt, with a shock-cropped 
head, rejoicing in the same complexion as his stalwart sister, 
who assisted him in his functions. The premises were in a 
wretched, tumble-down condition, jet, with all its imperfec- 
tions, he gave 1800Z. for a three years' good-will, subject to a 
rent of 400/. per annum ; and was so far contented with his 
bargain, as he told me, " that he refused 3000/. to walk out," 
although the three-fourths of his business was a bar trade, 
far the " ups," who were generally hard up, camped out at a 
place called the " Muddy Water Holes," some miles further 
on, while the " downs" were in such a hurry to spend their 
money, they always arranged to reach Geelong the second 

There was a wide hearth filled with great blazing logs 
outside the bar, having a long, rude form in front, with two 
short ones on either side ; but the company was confined to 
five— a sickly man, with a decent-looking wife, on one side, 
downward bound, and three respectable-looking young 
people, one a mere youth, upward bound. The latter party 
only joined us at supper, which consisted of a boiled fore- 
quarter of mutton, entire, damper, and tea. The sick man 
was too ill to eat, and his good wife was too attentive to 
leave him ; however, the Highland maiden took out some 
tea, bread, and butter. During the meal I found that the 
young lads were natives of Glasgow, and that two of them 
were brothers to a Scotch engineer, or millwright, who 
worked for two years in my employment in the erection of a 
large corn-mill. He was an excellent hand, and a trust- 
worthy fellow, and the brothers seemed to enjoy a transport 
of delight in hearing a stranger in a distant country praise 
him in an earnest manner. They also looked to obtain some 
advice from me, for I could see they were anxious, unassured, 
and, from their own confession, very scantily supplied with 



funds, having started without the concurrence of their 
friends. . I myself was charmed at the joyous manner in 
which they accepted my invitation to travel in company, and 
felt as if I was, to some extent, bound to look after them for 
the remainder of the journey. 

After supper, we adjourned to the fire, and I got a little 
water to rinse my muddy stockings in, and put them to dry. 
As it was early we sat chatting round the hearth, or listen- 
ing to the extraordinary dialogues of the various droppers-in 
from time to time, until at length two fellows, downward 
bound, came in, ordering beds promptly for the night, which 
were refused quite as curtly by our host, so much to our sur- 
prise, that I turned round to see if I could detect any out- 
ward or visible objection. They were certainly two as for- 
bidden-looking ruffians as could well be raked up from the 
refuse of convictism, and their garb, from hat to shoes, was 
in strict keeping with their natural appearance ; in fact, their 
make-up was perfect, and their demeanour, no doubt, would 
have been suitable — " the action to the word " — only for a 
wholesome apprehension of our strapping host, whose pota- 
tory arrangements about the bar were liberally garnished 

with " guns, and pikes, and bows." " And why the b y 

hell won't you house two tired down lads in your old crib ?" 
said one. " Not clean enough for a tasty horse to lie down 
in," chimed in the other, in a pure Milesian accent. " I'll 
gie ye na excuses," said the landlord, " so leet your pipes 
and gang awa wi* ye, richt aff." " You'll give us a drain, 
anyhow ?" returned both in a breath. " Weel, what's it to 
be?" inquired the host, turning round to a tumbler rack. 
" A quart o' brandy apiece," replied one, winking to his 
comrade, " an' here's the copper" — throwing down a fistful 
of sovereigns — " so take your rights." The host's face was 
a subject for quick study as he looked from the coin to the 


men, and back again, without saying a word. I thought he 
would not serve them, but Sandy's heart had a keen affinity 
for gold, so, mechanically picking one from the lot, he rang 
it on the counter, and liking the music, he subjected two 
others to the same ordeal. He filled the liquor into two tin 
cans, and shoved them across the counter. " Here's to your 
hearty damnation," said one, putting the can to his lips. 
" Soon and suddint," was my countryman's postscript, who, 
after a good long swig, continued, " and as sand and soap 
isn't plenty wid you be appeerince, here's a wash for your 
dirty floor." Saying which, he discharged his can round the 
apartment just as sailors would in washing the deck — an 
example followed by his comrade, who surged the best por- 
tion of his into the hearth, which caused a broad burst of 
flame that made us all leap up from our seats, and Sandy 
across the counter. The ruffians, when we looked round, 
had each a brace of pistols in their hands, quite ready to 
repel an assault to the death. Sandy quickly vaulted back 
for weapons, and we all simultaneously presented arms, more, 
however, to produce apprehension than death. I do believe, 
however, that our Celtic host would have spilled blood, only 
that I seized and turned aside the barrel of his blunderbuss. 
The prompt exhibition of deadly weapons had its proper 
effect, else I am certain the scoundrels would have bailed us 
up;* but, as the odds were so dead against them, they 
moved off, " muttering curses loud and deep." Sandy ran 
backwards, as they retired, to observe their movements, and 

* Bailing up is an ordinary process in the Australian colonies, and even 
one man has been known to enter a house single-handed, and after bailing 
np all the inmates, rifle the whole premises. It is thus managed: he enters 
with arms in his hands, swearing to shoot down the first person who makes 
a hostile movement, a threat always carried oat. He then orders one to tie 
up his neighbour, and so on till all are fettered, when he binds the last, and 
perpetrates the robbery. 


he, as well as his sister, kept watch all night, one in the 
house, the other in the stables, but there was no farther 
attempt at mischief. 

We had an early breakfast, and a bright, clear morning for 
our tramp ; but my juvenile companions, I found, had com- 
pletely overburdened themselves with swag, each having at 
least 120 lbs., comprising clothes and utensils. I expostu- 
lated with them on the score of superfluity, as did also the 
host, who kindly offered to store some things until their 
return ; but as we saw the lads were loth to abandon any- 
thing, we ceased exhorting them. As there was not any place 
for refreshment nearer than Watson's, our terminus for the 
day, we each took goodly-sized triangles of damper, and I 
provided, on the sly, a bottle of brandy, price 15s. The 
plain beyond O'Meara's slopes upwards for some miles, 
and spreads away east and west to a great extent. It is a 
fine grassy land, forming part of a squatting station, and, 
being such, the waggons were not allowed to diverge at plea- 
sure from the maiden tracks — an interdict which caused the 
proprietor to be frequently and warmly remembered in the 
prayers of the teamsters. We kept a little wide of the track, 
but not out of sight, as there was timber in the distance, and 
we had our fears about getting bushed. Before we got over 
the plain, we crossed close to a large flock of sheep, browsing 
after their ambulatory fashion, accompanied with the tinkle, 
tinkle, tinkle of their tiny bells,and attended by that peripatetic 
vegetable, an Australian shepherd, with his canine videttes. 
I remember the time when reading the bucolics of Virgil 
with a Key, how enamoured I was with the elysian charms of 
pastoral life ; how I envied Tytirus — what Verdant pictures 
of bowery bliss, Arcadian felicity, I sketched in my imagina- 
tion ; how I tortured the dactyles and spondees in my "fine 
frenzied" attempts at composing short eclogues; how, in 


fact, I pined and sighed for the sylvan calling of a " gentle 
shepherd." But if I had not been long previously weaned 
from my misplaced affection, the contemplation of a Victorian 
shepherd moving along after his flock from morn till night in 
a state of semi-somnambulism, with a snub-nosed dhudeen of 
the blackest aspect, instead of a tuneful pipe, stuck in the 
string of his hat, would have shaken my fond passion on its 
maiden foundation, and a sight of the swain reposing at night 
in an horizontal sentry-box, the guardian of his lambs, woulef 
have effected a radical cure. 

From the plain we passed some belts, and thick clumps of 
heavy timber on very rich land, and, after a few miles' travel, 
emerged upon a grand rolling country, intersected with 
streamlets, and well adapted either for pasture or the 
plough, where we found a favourite camping-ground, called 
the " Muddy Water Holes." It was a strange-looking place, 
like the hastily deserted camp of a retreating army, many of 
the fires, still alight, eating into the trunks of the old trees 
against which they were kindled ; the ground covered with 
the debris of hurried repasts, and abandoned baggage of every 
description— abandoned not from its worthlessness, as was 
evident, but from being an encumbrance. We took a rest- 
ing spell here after our eight miles' walk, and I found it a 
very favourable opportunity for renewing my exhortations 
about the superfluous swag, as my companions were suffering 
from its inconvenience, and they had under their eyes ample 
proof that hosts of others were constrained to do likewise. I 
surprised them with a nip of brandy each on giving their 
assent, and we then reviewed the packs, throwing away from 
each, as near as we could guess, 201b., and leaving 3001b. 
residue. From this I insisted on taking for my own burden 
75 lb., which equally apportioned the entire into four packs 
of 75 lb. I did not like leaving the lads after inviting them 


to join me, and I could not bear the idea of lagging beside 
them with my broad shoulders unladen, while they would be 
painfully toiling under their disproportioned loads. They 
glowed with unexpressed gratitude at my consideration, and 
we made a fresh start in great spirits, soon reaching a beauti- 
ful undulating country, occupied, as I learned, by a squatter 
of the name of E— — 11, whose home station was as lovely a 
district as I ever laid eyes upon — green as rich, natural 
clover could make it, with a quick, limpid rivulet flowing 
through it in a sloping dell, and timbered knolls scattered as 
if they were the offspring of artificial taste. Flocks, too, 
were to be seen at intervals, but the demon yells of the 
savage bullock-puncher* — " by distance mellowed o'er the 
meadows swept" — proved that Nature had not it all to 

From the confines of this station our road lay through a 
nasty rugged forest of comparatively young timber, until we 
came within a short distance of Watson's, where we passed 
a range of bark buildings in ruin, which was a horse-police 
outpost. We rested here, as there were pretty glimpses of 
open country from the hill on which we sat, and because a 
clear, trickling stream by our side looked as if its complexion 
would be mightily improved by the least taste of brandy. As 
we were making the experiment her Majesty's mail arrived 
on a pack-horse, followed by the mailman on another, and 
having, I suppose, a curiosity about chemical combinations, 
he dismounted to witness the result, which he ultimately 
assisted in testing ; and not being within range of Eowland 
Hill, nor in a hurry to disseminate bad news, he very con- 
siderately proposed to carry on our swags to Watson's, 
about a mile and a half farther on, to which we graciously 

* Bullock-puncher, another sobriquet for the teamster, whose whip-shaft 
is always armed with a spike to punch an over-obdurate animal 


je Watson's is, or was, excellently situated close by a nice 

k creek, but the house was a most wretched, tumble-down 

k domicile, with a shattered roof, which let the rain down the 

1{ j mouldy walls, and a tottering verandah, tiled with stringy 

£ bark. He was then preparing a new weatherboard addition, 

ff and well he might, for custom poured in upon him in a 

! perfect torrent, being in a position which could not be passed 

J either on the way up or down. There were not many when 

, we arrived, as it was rather early, so we got a quiet supper, 

i such as it was, and made the acquaintance of the host and 

his wife, young people from Dublin. Before sunset, however, 


considerable numbers arrived both ways, filling up every 
nook and corner save Mr. Watson's little private room, off 
which there were two small sleeping apartments, one for the 
family and the other for special visitors, with a bed on each 
side, and a space of about eighteen inches between them. My 
party, by a special ordinance, got the right of entree to the 
sitting-room and the little bedroom as well. We were 
extremely amused, though in no wise edified by the dialogues 
and discussions going on in the bar, at the songs and senti- 
ments given in the convivial groups in the barrack-room, and 
the open-air jollifications of a rollicking party, who kindled 
a fire in front, and kept brewing punch and relating their 
digger experiences to an outer circle of wondering lime- 
juicers, whose credulity was often purposely tested by some 
wonderful crammers. One man gravely related his state of 
perplexity on " coming down on a chunk of gold which was 
too big for the hole, and so heavy that he was obliged to hire 
a steam-engine to lift it." Another assured his auditors that 
" his claim in Canadian Gully was so rich that, on combing his 
hair after coming out of the drive, it was always good for 
two ounces ;" and a horny-handed fellow devoted himself to 
perdition " if he wouldn't pay his expenses in town by wash- 
ing out his finger-nails when he got there." 

174 m*e nr yiotoma. 

We— that is, my party— were quietly enjoying a glass of 
toddy in the private room with our host before turning in, 
when an inebriated fellow opened the door, and walked in 
unceremoniously to the table. Watson ordered him out 

peremptorily, but he muttered " hk d t ton " if he would, 

staggering into a chair, as I thought, with simulated drunken- 
ness, upon which Watson jumped up, saying, " I've remarked 
you all evening, and though I can put up with a great deal 
from a man who gets drunk on my premises, I'll be d— «d 
if I'll stand cheek from a fellow who carries his liquor about 
him, so out you go." And out he did go* neck and crop. 
But while I was in the act of complimenting mine host on 
his sound philosophy, a gang of brawling ruffians burst in, 
swearing they had as good a right to the parlour as any " big 
bug," and * might they be blowed if they'd leave it." Seeing 
that the set was made at us, and that the intruders were set 
on by the fellow recently turned out, we stood up to retire, 
but Watson would not permit it. I apprehended a serious 
row, and thought the best way of averting it was to order 
" nobblers round," which, like oil on the troubled waters, 
stilled the ferment in bo far as the row was concerned, but 
led to ebullitions of nobblers, which only Bubsided when the 
last survivor subsided on the floor. I was out early next 
morning, but even then there was a clamorous throng round 
the door of the bar, and in less than one hour I saw a wash- 
hand basin three-parts filled with money, the greater part 
silver, but a large proportion of gold, with a good many note- 
tails peeping through the heap. A nice early morning's 
receipt, which the landlord admitted to be over 1001., and 
which I knew to be two-parts profit ; for as you got into the 
interior the tariff gradually increased, the nobbier having in 
the course of the previous day's journey risen from Is. to 
Is. 6d. ; the brandy, per bottle, from 15s. to 11. ; and every- 
thing else in proportion. 


The greater part of the day's journey before us was 
through a low, marshy country, nearly all timbered, and so 
submerged for distances together, that all appearance of 
track was effaced, and we were frequently obliged to listen 
for the loud crack of the teamster's whip to judge of the 
right direction. This day's march was without incident, 
saving the overtaking of a party, who proved to be sailors, 
with their captain in command. They rigged a sort of 
palanquin, carried in turns by four men, which contained 
all their swag, and they moved gaily along. The captain 
told me the enterprise was one of his own design. To pre- 
vent his crew from breaking up, he took half, selected by 
lot, to the diggings, fitting them out at ship's expense, to 
try their luck for a month clear, on the understanding that 
they were to divide equally with those on board, who, in 
turn, were to have a try, on similar terms, under command 
of the first officer. We put up at Sellick's Hotel, at Bun- 
ningyong, and put in a jolly night of it in a small room to 
ourselves, within hearing of the digger melodies in the great 
.public room, but subject to a further increase of rates, the 
nobbier having now advanced to 2s. Bunningyong, in- 
tended as the township of the Ballarat diggings, then 
boasted only a few scattered houses, but the site was se- 
lected in consequence of the abundance of water in the neigh- 
bourhood. Our sleeping Apartment was an unlined slab room, 
through which the wind howled, and we were obliged to sleep 
two on each narrow stretcher, and pay 8s. each in advance. 



The Brutality of Bullock-drivers all over the World— Clever Trick of a 
Grog-seller — Contrast in Appearance betwixt California and Victoria- 
Contrast in the Aspect of the Diggers as well — Post-office at Ballarat — 
Placard Advertisements — Find my digging Friends — The Hole of the 
Great Nugget — Speculations on Gold Deposits — My first Descent — Com- 
fortless Aspect of Diggers' Tents — Diggers and Commissioners — Put my 
Scotch Friends in Harness — Sailors' Luck exemplified — The Digger Hunt 
and its Incidents — Capital Ruse in an Emergency — Government naturally 
held responsible for the Maladministration of its Officials. 

Oto sailor acquaintances and my party next morning re- 
solved ourselves into a joint-stock company, and took the road 
to the gold-field, under the guidance of two return diggers. 
The road lay through bold ranges, and was exceedingly beauti- 
ful in places, but marked most disagreeably, at close intervals 
throughout, with dead and dying bullocks, in a pitiful state 
of emaciation, whose lacerated hides showed that even to 
the last stage they were mercilessly flayed by the relentless 
beasts in human form employed* to drive them. It is a 
strange thing, but strictly true as far as my experience 
teaches me, that while, in almost all other associations betwixt 
man and the brute creation, a degree of sympathy, if not 
affection, arises from constant companionship, even though it 
may be alternated with quarrelsome interludes, no symptom 
of regard ever pulsates, no chord of kindness ever seems to 
awaken, in the callous heart of the remorseless bullock- 
driver for his patient team. The reciprocal attachment be- 


tween man and the horse or dog is proverbial. The drunken 
tinker may thrash his donkey unreasonably at times, but 
there are moments when he will pull his long ears with 
friendly warmth. The keeper of wild beasts may use his 
pole or his scourge sternly on occasion, but a juncture of 
reconciliation soon follows, when he will pat the leopard 
softly on the head, and thrust him a tit-bit of atonement 
through the bars of his cage. But the bullock-puncher is a 
type of humanity apart from his fellows ; he is neither to be 
propitiated by the willingness of his team, nor appeased by 
their most prodigious exertions. Cuts and curses are their 
reward, cuts and curses their punishment. After the most 
toilsome day's journey, he will ruthlessly turn them, scalded 
and bleeding, from the yoke, without caring to provide them 
either food or water, next morning goading them as cruelly 
as if they came to their task lusty from replenishment ; and, 
finally, when a meekly-enduring brute, yielding to exhausted 
nature, sinks, without a moan, upon the road from pure in- 
anition, the man-devil will drive the spike of the whip- 
handle into his still living eye, and unyoke the poor dying 
beast with a horrible malediction. I marked the class in 
America, in California, in Mexico, in Central America, at 
the Cape, and in Australia, and they all seem to be of the 
self-same family — fiends incarnate — without a drop of the 
milk of human kindness in their veins, inaccessible at all 
times to the promptings of charity or mercy. 

About half way from Bunningyong, one of our volunteer 
guides took us a little aside the track to show us the scene 
of a clever trick, put in practice by a pair of brothers who 
commenced their career in Ballarat by sly grog-selling on a 
small scale, but the profits of the trade were so enormous, 
they gradually extended it, until they were enabled to buy a 
horse team of their own and take their supplies direct from 

VOL. I. n 

178 life iar victobia. 

bead-quartern. On their last journey in the district they 
got safely thua far with a full freight, which, at the current 
rates, would hare completed " their pile," but they got stuck 
in a piece of swampy ground in the dusk and were unable 
to proceed, while in the morning they found their misfortune 
aggravated by the abduction of their horses. But necessity 
■—that prolific mother— quickly presented them with a 
bantling, under the instigation of which they set to work 
sinking a hole, as if they had discovered a fresh lead. They 
were mysteriously silent as to their reasons for making the 
experiment, and altogether deported themselves in that 
studiously cautious manner calculated to excite remark 
and suspicion. The result was, that the whisper of a new 
find soon swelled into the trumpet-tongued rumour of a 
great discovery, which was followed by a great rush,* but 
long before a single hole was bottomed the brothers sold 
the last drop of their grog, and departed without their cart 
before the cheat was discovered — or punished, as it assuredly 
would have been, could the dupes have laid hands on them. 

The first glance at the great and glorious gold-field of 
Ballarat we got was the celebrated Canadian Gully, then ra- 
diant with the still fresh fame of the enormous 137 lb. nugget. 
I was first struck, before approaching it closely, with the 
general aspect of the surrounding district, which, by a re- 
trospective effort, I hastily compared on my mind's tablets 
with the contour of all the Californian diggings, without 
being able to discover any analogy in outline, any palpable 
geological resemblance in general configuration, any special 
lineament or feature* which could Warrant Mr. Hargraves 
in jumping to the conclusion that gold should necessarily 
exist in Australia because its geological construction and 

* Bash is a technical term applied to those great migratory waves of 
digging population which follow the report of fresh discoveries. 


indications bo closely resembled those of California. I have 
never been on the Sydney side, and am therefore unable to 
speak as to the style and configuration of the auriferous 
country within which the Turon diggings were discovered, 
but I have been on all the olden fields in Victoria— over 
their flats, through their gullies, and amongst their reefs. 
I have fossicked* on their surface, examined their ghaffcs,t 
crawled through their drives, J and worked in their quafrtz 
tunnels, seeing little in common betwixt the two coun- 
tries but the gold, and even that is dissimilar. The gold- 
fields of California exist in their integrity, amidst, or con- 
tiguous to, the hips and flanks of the great mountain ranges 
in distorted regions, peaked, jagged, and irregular, from the 
throes of volcanic convulsion. The gold there, in my time, 
sever selected the smooth level meadows, or hanging slopes, 
as resting-places. It was most generally to be found 
diffused with the soil in the beds or shallow banks of 
the brawling streamlets, which, leaping from the icy crags 
of the great Sierra Nevada, hurried, in their almost hidden 
channels, through deep-seated ravines, whose sides, in their 
steepness, resembled precipices, the metal, as it became 
ground finer and finer from attrition and in the various 
processes of disintegration, finding its way beneath the 
alluvial deposit of the more open and remote rivers. Dig- 
gers there had not to penetrate as it were into the bowels 
of the earth for the precious metal, they found it in the 
stratum immediately under the earthy deposit, either asso- 
ciated with the hard-packed gravelly subsoil, or in the holes 
or pockets of the water-worn rocks, and sometimes, like 

* Fossicking means picking, prying, or examining minutely. 

t Shafts, like those in coal mines, are the Artificial holes sunk perpen- 
dicularly to reach the metal or mineral. 

t Drives are the horizontal borings radiating from the bottom of the 



mosaic-work, laminated in the friable sandstone. They 
rarely worked below the surface, and always close by the 
margins of brooks or rivers, coming tentwards after the 
day's toil, clean and washed, without stain or soil on their 

But Ballarat affords no indications of violent volcanic par- 
turition. There is nothing in the tournure of its rounded 
ranges that could not be seen in any ordinary steppe, plain, 
or prairie. There is no leviathan system of mountain chains 
at all contiguous. The precious metal there spreads out and 
subsides on the pipeclay bottom of flat, wide-spread plains, 
or settles in great subterranean gutters deep down below the 
surface, in the entrails of broad elongated slopes, miscalled 
gullies. It is scarcely ever found in payable quantities in 
the stratum just beneath the alluvial deposit. On the con- 
trary, the digger is obliged to sink his shaft through stratum 
after stratum, from fifty to sixty, eighty to ninety, and now 
to over three hundred feet, before he reaches the embowelled 
treasure, and he then emerges with the wash stuff in a 
coating of yellow muck, as if he were clothed from top to toe 
in a complete suit of chamois-leather. I am therefore un- 
able, for the life of me, to imagine by what comparative pro- 
cess the analogy is traced, where, according to all ordinary 
rules, everything appears to be in direct contrast. 

Coming in amongst the diggers, nothing could possibly be 
more unlike in external appearance than that of the Cali- 
fornian and the Ballaratian. There was an air of comely 
chivalry about the former, bearded like a pard, with his 
steeple-crowned sombrero, and his wide coloured flannel shirt, 
girthed in above the hips with a red sash, that was stuck 
round with knives, daggers, and revolvers ; while the latter, 
in the common-place garb of an ordinary nawie, 'without 
any more attractive-looking weapon than his tobacco-knife, 


worked like a horse, above and below ground, by night and 
by day, in a panoply of mud, as if he took minute baths in 
a thick solution of yellow-ochre. Although 1 thought I had 
derived a tolerably accurate notion of digging operations 
from oral description, I was wholly unprepared for the 
reality, and as 1 stood on the platform where the windlass is 
worked, and peered down the clean, straight, dry shafts, 
rounded and perpendicular as the tunnel of a steamer, or 
into the wet ones, squared and slabbed with mechanical 
accuracy, I almost fancied that Victorian digging was a 
special trade, followed out by strict mathematical rules ; and 
I had very little difficulty in making up my mind, from the 
specimens then before me, that Ballarat at least was no 
field for the amateur or 'prentice digger, which also seemed 
to be an opinion very generally shared in by my now 
numerous companions. 1 could detect a shadow of appre- 
hension overcasting the features of my young Scotch friends 
and my salt-water comrades as they looked down the holes 
at the diminuent mannikins, working away, up to their hips 
in water, by the dim light of a twinkling little candle. I was 
rather amused as two of the sailors, who had made very free 
with the brandy-bottle, were roaring out in chorus, at the 
end of each verse of our great national and nautical melody, 
" Britons never shall be slaves," to hear them thus angrily 
addressed from a yellow digger who just appeared above 
ground from a deep wet hole : " Shut up, you pair of bloody 
fools ; only take my place below there for six hours, and see 
whether Britons ever can be slaves or not." 

But further particulars anon. My immediate business was 
to find my digging friends, so I took the route leading to the 
post-office, to drop them a line (as I heard all diggers called 
on Saturdays there), and then look out for quarters, I ad* 
vised my companions to come also, as they would then be 

182 lite nr tiotobia. 

sure of getting disinterested advice ; but the Bailor troop re* 
mained, and pitched their tent on the side of Canadian 
Gully » 

The post-office was further oa r in the direction of the 
Government camp, on the hill above Golden Point, where 
the first grand discovery was made ; but being then falsely 
supposed to be worked out, it was pretty nearly deserted, 
except by fossickers, and some few individual diggers en- 
gaged in washing over tail heaps. By the way, I must also 
except two small parties of Chinese — the first I had seen 
in .the colony— who were working two deep wet deserted 
holes on the edge of the creek. The St. Martin's-le-Grand 
of Ballarat was a very primitive establishment, contained 
within a moderate-sized log cabin, the greater portion of 
which, even after subtracting the household corner, was 
devoted to general business, and the person who wanted an 
ounce of tobacco was attended to before the man in quest of 
letters. The whole exterior of the edifice was papered over 
with quaintly-worded and ingeniously-spelled advertisements 
in writing. If you could find a vacant space you were at 
liberty to occupy it ; but woe betide you if caught either in 
pulling off or overriding a previously posted notice, which, 
under pick-and-shovel law, were allowed to remain until they 
fell off in scabs, like a poor man's plaister. I annex a few as 
a general specimen : 

If this should meet the eye of John Tims he will hear of his shipmate at 
Pennyweight Flat, next tent to the tub and cradle. 

The sign of a store, I presume ; but if not so understood, 
rather a vague direction in a district like Pennyweight Flat, 
where some thousands were at work, each party with a tub 
and cradle. 

* It is to be remarked that sailors, as a class, have been proverbially for- 
tunate an all the Victorian diggings. 


James dakin notyces the publik agin thrnstin his wife* 

Patt Flynn calls on biddy to return to the tint forninst the cross roads. 

Ten pounds reward for my black mare. No questions asked nor ideas 

But no indication where the reward was payable. 

For sale, several householt an kulenary articles, as also a numerous 
Jrackshun of odds an ends, at the Tent oppsite the Frenchman's store at the 

I paid a shilling at the poet-office counter for a sheet of 
paper and liberty to write a line to my friend, and an ad- 
vertisement, for which I fortunately found a vacancy ; but 
after dropping my note in the box, and in the act of water- 
ing up my notice, a young man who read it over my shoulder 
said |C he thought he knew my friend and party, and if I 
would accompany him to Prince Begent's Gully, he would 
take me to them." This was very agreeable information, 
mid I most cheerfully went along with him. It was, he 
said ; very probable that the party was at work ; nevertheless, 
we went to the tent in the first instance, and found " W n 
at home, or rather in front, ehopping wood for the fire. He 
recognised me at once ; but, as the Yankees say, w I couldn't 
realise him anyhow" for some moments, in his tawny suit, 
with a long clotted beard dangling with small pea-nuts of 
ochre, and his face leprous with dried blobs of the Same de- 
lightfol auriferous compound. I introduced my companions, 
and, after celebrating the meeting in the usual style, we went 
up the gully to their shaft, to see the remainder of the boys. 

They were hard at work, but as T o at the windlass 

recognised me he nearly dropped the bucket he was unhitch- 
ing back into the hole. E—b — n came to the surface, and 

H t from the puddling-tub, to join in the welcome ; and 

it was soon agreed to knock off work for the remainder of 

the day— then two o'clock. T e took charge of u^ to 

show the lions of the neighbourhood, and the others went 



home to prepare a special meal in celebration of the visit. 
We first crossed the range to the empty shrine which was 
erst the repository of the celebrated nugget — the Mecca of 
all digging pilgrims. Empty did I say? We found this 
natural treasure-chest nearly full of muddy water, situated 
half way up on the hip of a quick slope, a proof in itself of 
the changes which the face of the country must have under- 
gone since the auriferous deposits found a final resting- 
place, for the simple laws of gravitation would forbid the 
possibility of a solid chunk of gold, 137 lbs. weight, remain- 
ing on the side of a hill while comparatively unponderous 
matter settled down at an apparently lower level. But the 
obvious explanation is, that the channel of the original water- 
course, in which the auriferous soil was carried, cleared its 
bed along the tough pipeclay bottom, on the level where the 
nugget was found, at a depth of sixty-five feet, the waves of 
earthy and alluvial matter, still in a partial state of solution, 
rolling sluggishly over it before settling down to a con- 
sistent state of irregularity, something like the wavy uneven 
surface of a strand when the tide retires, leaving it bare and 
hard. I do not pretend or presume to offer this suggestion 
as a scientific explanation of the great geological enigma 
which still remains to be solved, simply because I am very 
far from being a pundit in these abstruse doctrines; but, ac- 
cording to those palpable every-day appearances which meet 
the eye of the least inquiring person, it strikes me there is 
some leaven of plausibility in it. This hole, after being first 
opened for a few feet, was shepherded* by three different 
parties, each going through the form of taking out a few 
shovelfuls of soil in fulfilment of the digging code, and keep- 
ing a watch on the adjoining holes to see if the lead should be 

* Shepherding means keeping passive possession of a hole, and keeping 
watch around for the run of the gutter. 



struck, but, such not being the case, the last party, after 
einking sixty feet, forsook it, and so it remained deserted for 
aome time, until a party of new chums struck into it to make 
their maiden essay at digging, more for the purpose of taking 
an initiatory lesson in the art of shaft-sinking than with the 
expectation of making their fortune. But lo ! after clearing 
off three feet of dirty stuff, one of the lime-juicers struck his 
pick on a lump of something not hard enough for stone nor 
soft enough for clay, which yielded a dull muffled sound to 
his blow. He struck again with the same result, and again 
too ; then, sinking a hole at the edge to prize the obstacle out 
of the way with a bar, a corner of the nugget was revealed, 
and its precious nature disclosed to his delightful view, 
brought to light after a dark entombment of ages. The 
lucky novices, though charmed no doubt at their discovery, 
did not permit their wild excitement to overmaster their 
prudence. One was despatched to the camp for a guard of 
honour to escort it to the treasury, and during his absence 
the others discovered around the bed of the monster a litter 
of little nuggets, to the value of about 300Z. Thus, in a few 
hours, those fortunate diggers dug up 70001. worth of gold, 
which enabled them to leave the colony with their piles 
within a month of their arrival. 

While still sitting round the hole, musing and chatting on 
the strange vicissitudes of life, and the infinite mutability of 
fortune, we were favoured with no very pleasing exemplifi- 
cation in our own persons by the unexpected appearance of 
a " brace of traps,"* who demanded our licenses ; and so far 
from being satisfied with our explanations, vouched by 
T o , whom they knew, they were rude and insolent, and, 
pretending to discredit our statements, ordered us to march 

* The police in the diggings went by the name of traps — an obsolete 
sobriquet at home. 


as prisoners to the camp, first to pay our 5J. fines, and titan 
take out our licenses. Expostulation was rain; promises 
were sneered at ; nothing short of 202., that is, 51 each, could 
procure our liberation ; so off we marched in the worst of 
humour. The first mandarin before whom we were brought 
took the cue from the captors, pretending to laugh at " our 
ruse," assuming, at the same time, an air of menace, in whioh 
he hinted at locking up in default ; but on asking " if one of 
his brother commissioners, to whom I had a letter of intro- 
duction from a certain person in authority at head-quartern, 
was in the camp," the matter assumed another complexion. 
The other commissioner soon arrived, and, glancing at the sig- 
nature, he grasped my hand, and shook it almost to dislo- 
cation ; but had I not had the letter the consequences would 
have been both expensive and disagreeable. ^Reflecting on 
this, I began for the first time to think that the digger out- 
cry against official tyranny and exaction was not altogether a 
taTp^I^d well imagine the staiTfeelmg 
likely to be generated by a persistance in such a system of 
arbitrary persecution, and I was not surprised when it reached 
its climax soon afterwards. 

On our return to Prince Begent's Gully, evening was fast 
advancing, and I had opportunities of seeing the domestic 
varieties of digger life. There was one thing quite apparent, 
that the generality of the tents were of the most flimsy de- 
scription, and side-glances into their interiors seldom dis- 
covered any traces of comfort, seldom of decency ; scarcely 
any had chimneys attached, so that all the cooking was done 
in the open air, but all of them were surrounded by hosts of 
mongrel dogs of the most noisy and snappish breed. There 
was also another noticeable feature in these diggings^- parti- 
cularly as compared with those in California-which was the 
large proportion of women — I was on the point of writing 


the softer sex, bat that would hare been a misnomer, for the 
most callous specimens of the male creation I ever encoun- 
tered were mere green pulp in comparison with some of the 
graoitewgrained viragoes I had the honour of meeting in the 
" field of the cloth of gold" in the new world. 

We found a plentiful dinner, in a rough way, awaiting us, 
which we got through sittmg astride on the long back log 
of the fire. The story of our sticking up by the police waB 
discussed in bitter terms before a large circle who joined us 
in the course of the evening, and, from certain rumours, 
strengthened by the coincidence that the marrow would be a 
birthday of some distant member of the royal family, long odds 
were laid that there would be a " license hunt" to celebrate the 
occasion and supply the cellars of the authorities; for in that 
spirit of misrepresentation which grows out of antagonism the 
diggers avouched " that the commissioners and police divided 
the black mail they levied on these occasions, 1 ' urging that 
the impunity from all possible accountability incited them to 
this profitable pastime. " How the bloody hell can a com- 
missioner be found out in his robbery," urged a violent 
guest, " when, after catching fifty poor fellows in a gully, he 
will take a couple of pounds round, bail for their appearance 
in the morning ? as if any of them would be such bloody 
fools as to go claim their bail, by paying a 51. fine instead, 
and 80s. besides for a license. We're not such bloody asses 
as they take us for; as if we didn't know that Commis- 
sioner , and Inspector , and Police-officer ■ 
could never manage to live at the rate of 50OOI. a year each 
on their salaries, big as they are, only for the license pick- 
ings." " Ay, and Bill," chimed. in another, " to say no&in' 
of the kumsayriat,* which, any child knows, is another dead 

* Intended to convey co«nritmmt, am establishment pecqUariy obnoxious 
to suspicion. I do believe so high as 1681 JMT ton iraa paid for hay in 


robbery. How mighty green we all are to believe that the 
camp hay last year cost 150/. a ton, and no back hand given,'* 
" But don't mention on no account," added another, " tb$ 
nice tips the beaks get for a granting of spirit licenses." 
" Oh, b the lot," exclaimed a vehement little man, who 

had been suppressing his wrath ; " who's to blame ? nobody 
but ourselves. "Why don't you take my advice ?" This was 
followed by a lull, when I ventured to ask the nature of his 
counsel. " Why, then, as you want to know, since the Go* 
vernment won't give satisfaction, to take it on our own 
hook." An explanation which was followed by a burst o£ 
applause and hurrahs, and cries of "By G — d, we'll 

The effects of the day's hard work, and the time for the 
night gaDgs going to work, soon diminished the group at our 
fireside ; and as we were left alone, with the exception of a 
neighbouring storekeeper, Mr. S — d — r, who will remember 
the evening, I changed the topic, but not until my friends 
assured me there was mischief brewing, and that unless there 
was some change or reform introduced in gold-field manage* 
xnent, a serious reckoning would ensue, for there was much 
truth at the bottom of all the grumbling. I sought advice for 
my young friends, suggesting they should take employment 
at wages for a time, until they put enough together to start 
on their own account, a period which could not be remote, as 
good men were then readily hired at 17. per day and their 
keep, which would bring the party in clear 181. per week. 
However, Mr. S — d — r said, if they were steady and indus- 
trious they could do still better, by washing over tailings on 
their own account, and he volunteered, on ray introduction, 

1852. I myself was aware of 90£ being paid in 1853 for a large lot, exclu- 
sive of carriage to the camp ; and I also knew that Mr. B*y**t of T***g**r 
had several contracts at 601 per ton of 2000 lbs. 


not only to furnish them supplies on credit, but to let them 
have a small tent and tools, abandoned to him by a drunken 
customer, until they could conveniently pay for them. I thus 
got my proteges off my hand most agreeably to my own feel 
ings, and, nolens volens, was obliged to takeT— e's stretcher, 
the boys agreeing to bivouac round the fire for the remainder 
of the night. 

On the following morning, after an early but substantial 
breakfast, we went to instal the Scotch lads in their new es- 
tablishment, and point them out a locality in which they 
could commence operations, and, returning by a short cut, 
we came across the sailor party, who had made the purchase 
of a hole for 15Z., in which the captain assured me with great 
glee he had himself picked up several specs of gold. My 

friends smiled, but were silent, T e whispering to me it 

was a regular plant — a salted hole.* As I shall not again 
have occasion to revert to this party, I may as well here re- 
late the particulars and result of their purchase, which is 
" confirmation strong" of sailors' luck. After parting with 
them on the previous forenoon they were picked up by a tip- 
pling loafer, subsequently pointed out to me, who soon took 
their measure, marking them down for prey. He was pro- 
fuse in his advice and in his offers of service. He dilated on 
the expense and delay of beginning a new hole, recommend- 
ing them to buy one half down, which he assured them 
might be as lucky as any, giving the great nugget-hole as a 
case in point. He did not experience much difficulty in 
bringing them over to his views, nor in finding a friend who 
had a hole for sale. So the bargain was concluded and the 
money paid, but the Mentor disappeared. Nevertheless, the 
sailor party bought a windlass, which they rigged in ship- 

* Salting a hole is sprinkling it artificially, with the view of perpetrating 
a cheat, as I described. 


shape, and went to work unsuspectingly. The hole was 
about forty -fire feet when they commenced, and as they ap- 
proached eighty they came upon as fine a gutter of washing- 
dirt as any previously hit upon in the gully. It averaged ail 
round a good ounce to the tub, giving them aa aggregate of 
over 3300/., which, perhaps, would have been trebled, only 
that the lead turned at a quick angle, leaving their claim before 
it traversed more than one-third of its length. It appears 
that the disinterested man who sold it, dividing the proceeds 
with his worthy agent, came upon a false bottom,* which in 
those early days was not easily discriminated from the 
real one, and he sold his interest in it, supposing it to be 
valueless, first peppering it with a little gold-dust to season 
the bargain. The swindler who promoted the eheafc duly 
appeared, when the news spread, to urge his claim to a bonus 
on the fortune he transferred, but I was instrumental in un- 
masking his rascality, and preventing his obtaining any 
further funds on false pretences. 

My Mends had their hole in a forward state, and deter- 
mined on bottoming it, although, from unerring indication in 
those more in the heart of the gully, they had little or no 
expectations of making a hit. But to this result they were 
tolerably reconciled, having had some good strokes of luck 
previously. Their hole was a dry one so far, and was ex- 
cavated in a style of fiuiohed workmanahip w circular as if 
it was worked from a fixed centre, perfectly perpendicular, 
as they showed me by a stone in a rope-sling, and wonder- 
fully smooth besides, the surface-water as well as the drift 
drainage wader the sur&oe stratum being intercepted and 
carried away by means of a circular cutting encircling the 

* False bottom is generally a whitish, adhesive stratum found at various 
depths, and in the early days -was frequently mirtsfrwn for the real pipeclay 
bottom immediately over the rock in which the gold is always found. 


shaft«-mouth,; which was constructed to discharge itself on 
the doping side of their claim. I prepared for my first 
descent by changing my coat for a blue shirt, and then, with 
one foot in a noose and a hold of the rope, I was let down 
very comfortably. When landed at the bottom, I had a still 
better opportunity of appreciating the skill with which the 
shaft had been carried down, for it was as plumb on all sides 
as if bored by an auger, perfectly free from the slightest 
bulge, not a protrusion, and about two feet ten inches in 
diameter, the space within which an ordinary man can work 
with his pick from the centre all round; and certainly, 
seeing the seemingly wild, indifferent manner in which 
diggers use the pick, it is positively wonderful to observe 
the nice perfection they are able to achieve. But Raphael 
is said, in his inspired moments, to have made the chips of 
marble fly about in showers under the rapid strokes of his 
divine chisel, and perhaps the auri sacra fames lends a species 
of profane inspiration to the digger in the use of his peculiar 

I was not permitted to indulge very long in my meditations, 
for W— 1— n shouted down, " Come up, boys — come along 
quick— the game is started !" and as I was being hoisted up 
I heard the swelling uproar and the loud chorus of " Joes !"* 
from every side. As I gained the surface everybody was in 
commotion, diggers with their licenses lowering down their 
mates without them ; others, with folded arms, cursing the 
system and damning the Government; some "stealing 
away" like hares when hounds are in the neighbourhood ; 
and several " tally-ho'd," bursting for pointB where they 

* Joe is a term of opprobrium hurled after the police ever since the dig- 
gings commenced, but the derivation is still a mystery. Some commen- 
tators trace it to the Christian name of Mr. Latrobe; but this is an error; 
the ex-governor was never personally unpopular, except mth the editor of 
the Argus. 


could escape arrest, while " Joe ! Joe ! Joe ! Joe ! Joe ! Joe P' 
resounded on all sides, the half-clad Amazons running up 
the hill-sides like so many bearers of the " fiery-cross," to 
spread to the neighbouring gullies the commencement of the 
police foray. The police, acting on a preconcerted plan of 
attack, kept closing in upon their prey, the mounted portion, 
under the commander-in-chief commissioner, occupying com- 
manding positions on the elevated ridges to intercept escape 
or retreat. A strong body of the foot force, fully armed, 
swept down the gully in extended line, attended by a corps 
of light infantry traps in loose attire, like greyhounds on 
the slip, ready to rush from the leash as the quarry started. 
But the orders of the officers could not be heard, from the 
loud and continuous roars of " Joe ! Joe ! Joe !" — " Damn 
the b— — y Government ! — the beaks, the traps, commis- 
sioners, and all — the robbers, the bushrangers," and every 
other vile epithet that could be remembered, almost into their 
ears. At length, the excitement got perfectly wild, as a 
smart fellow, closely pursued by the men-hounds, took a line 
of the gully cut up with yawning holes, from which the cross- 
ing planks had been purposely removed, every extraordinary 
spring just carrying him beyond the grasp of capture, his 
tracks being filled the instant he left them, and the out- 
stretched arm of the trap within an inch of seizure in the 
following leap. I myself was strangely inoculated with the 
nervous quiver of excitement, and I think I gave an invo- 
luntary cheer as the game and mettle of the digger began to 
tell. But now arose a terrific menacing outcry of " Shame ! 
shame !— damnation ! — treachery ! — meanness !" which a 
glance in the direction of the general gaze showed me was 
caused by a charge of the mounted men on the high ground 
to head back the poor fugitive. I really thought a conflict 
would have ensued, for there was a mad rush to the point 

A CHASE. 193 

where the collision was likely to take place, and fierce vows of 
vengeance registered by many a stalwart fellow, who bounded 
past me to join in the fray. A moment after, the mounted 
men wheeled at a sharp angle, and a fresh shout arose as 
another young fellow flew before them with almost super- 
natural fleetness, like a fresh hare started as the hunted one 
was on the point of being run down. I marvelled to see 
him keep the unbroken ground with the gully at his side 
impracticable for cavalry, but no, he made straight on for a 
bunch of tents with a speed I never saw equalled by a 
pedestrian. It was even betting, too, that he would have 
reached the screen first, when lo ! he stopped short so sud- 
denly as only just to escape being ridden down by the com- 
missioner — the Cardigan of the charge — who seized him by 
the shirt-collar in passing. The rush of diggers now became 
diverted to the scene of caption. I hurried forward there 
too, although fearing I should witness the shedding of blood 
and the sacrifice of human life, but as I approached I was 
agreeably disappointed at hearing loud roars of laughter, 
and jeering outbursts of " Joe ! Joe !" amidst which the 
crowd opened out a passage for the crestfallen heroes, who 
rode away under such a salute of opprobrious epithets as I 
never heard before, for the young fellow who led them off 
the idle chase stopped short the moment he saw the real 
fugitive was safe, coolly inquiring of his captor " what crime 
he was guilty of to be hunted like a felon." " Tour license, 
you scoundrel !" was the curt reply. Upon which he put his 
hand in his pocket and pulled out the document, to the in- 
effable disgust of their high mightinesses, who, in grasping 
at the shadow, had lost the substance. 

It was a capital ruse, adopted in an emergency, and played 
with greater skill than if there had been a regular rehearsal. 
I flatter myself that I am a loyal man on the average, and a 

TOL. I. O 

194 life nr tictoeia. 

respectable upholder of law and order, but I was unable to 
repress an emotion of gratification at the result of the chase, 
or an impulse of hero-worship as I sought the sole actor in 
the successful diversion to offer my congratulations. The 
myrmidons of the law now moved up the middle of the gully 
in close order, attended by anything but an admiring cortege, 
who made it a point never to let the cry of " Joe ! Joe !" 
subside for a moment. Occasionally a license was demanded, 
and its production was the signal for fresh outbursts of the 
tumult ; but the " license meet" was brought to a close by 
two other successful feints that were played off by a pair of 
diggers, who, simulating a guilty timidity, dropped them- 
selves in a slide down their ropes into the bottoms of their 
wet holes, followed by a brace of traps with dashing gal- 
lantry, who chased them into the muddy drives, where the 
lurkers purposely crawled, to lead their pursuers into the 
muck. Of course they were hauled up in triumph, but the 
hallelujahs were quickly superseded by choking screams of 
"Joe! Joe!" when the prisoners produced their digging 
warrants. The commissioner did not venture on another 
" throw off," but moved away sullenly with his forces, to the 
tune of " Joe ! Joe I Joe !" and expressions of regret " that 
he would have to drink the royal family's health after dinner 
at his own expense," and such-like observations. But the 
reflection which obtruded itself on me was the absolute loss 
which accrued to the public by the frequent recurrence of 
these digger hunts, in diverting thousands of industrious 
men from employment, who, at the lowest average of the 
day, would have produced half an ounce of gold to each hand ; 
which, of course, had its indirect effect on trade and busi- 
ness — in fact, on the general prosperity of the colony. 

The Government was naturally held responsible for this 
state of things, but the enormously increased expenses of 

****** * * m w w 


governing consequent upon the discovery of gold could not 
be defrayed without increased taxation, and the class who 
benefited by the discovery was that from which the Govern- 
ment, in the exercise of its discretion, sought to extract the 
necessary subsidies. But, all irresponsible as it was, still, 
having the semblance of a parliament, it would neither have 
been meet nor safe to have assumed an arbitrary power, and 
exercise it in the despotic abrogation of one tax and the im- 
position of another, without consulting the collective wisdom 
of the state, such as it was under the old system. Mr. La- 
trobe was nominally governor, but it is well known that in 
the exercise of his viceregal powers he conformed too closely 
to the routine of royalty by leaving his cabinet, or the heads 
of departments, as his advisers were popularly called, to do 
as they liked in their different spheres ; and they did as they 
liked, having no parliament capable of controlling them. 
The head of the Commissariat bought hay and oats at prices 
that would have made Caligula stare, but the governor 
never murmured. The Auditor- General smoked his pipe and 
sang comic songs, without ever being " brought to book" by 
his Excellency. The Chief Commissioner of Gold-fields 
created appointments and dispensed a vast patronage with 
the passive assent of Mr. Latrobe. The Chief Commissioner 
of Police organised an ad libitum force, filling the ranks with 
his favourites, and lodging them in barracks of his own, 
without ever being questioned as to the number or the pay. 
The Chief Commissioner of Crown Lands allotted territorial 
principalities as his temper moved him. The Commissioner 
of Trade and Customs was a perfect autocrat in his depart- 
ment ; and the Attorney- General, I believe, rarely embar- 
rassed his chief by consultations on official routine. When 
Mr. Poster arrived and assumed the functions of Colonial 
Secretary, he was disposed, it is said, to introduce some mild 



reforms into the administrative system, pending the intro- 
duction of the new constitution; but his resolution was 
weak, while the old clique was strong, so he was powerless. 
He claims the credit — I believe with justice — of desiring to 
abolish the license tax on taking the reins of office, and sub- 
stituting the export duty on gold in its stead, but he was 
overruled by his colleagues and the Senate. So the odious 
impost remained, with all its grievous and demoralising effects, 
until a new viceregal dynasty succeeded, when it was only 
abolished to compromise a colonial revolution. 

AU 'W ■¥■!■. 



Ballarat in 1853 — A Season for the crowding of lucky Diggers into Mel- 
bourne — The Government Camp of the Period — Stores and Storekeeping 
in Victoria contrasted with the System in California — Domestic Manage 
of Storekeepers — Commence my Researches as a Fossicker — Favourable 
Reception in that Character — Discover Quantities of Gold in the Tail- 
stuff— The Discovery does not tend to improve the Operations of the Diggers 
— Surface Gold— Think of abandoning the Pen for the Pick — Modern 
Discoveries at Variance with the received Geological Theories — Perplex- 
ing Scarcity of Quartz at Ballarat — Absurd Reports of the Gold-fields 
Commissioner — The Gold-fields of Victoria peculiarly unsuited to the 
Amateur Digger — Mushrooms not the Produce of Sheep Ordure. 

Ballarat, at the time of my visit, was a digging, etpra- 
terea nihil. There was no town, no township, no village, nor 
any trading nucleus at any particular spot or locality. Every 
flat and gully had its sprinkling of stores and butchers' 
shops, and some few their bakeries, but there was no great 
local central dep6t from which they took their supplies. 
There were no hotels,* no publics, no theatres, no places of 
amusement or public resort. No wonder, then, that diggers 
who, after months of incessant toil and privation, came upon 
their rich reward, should resort to the capital for a spell of 
relaxation before they commenced another such task; and 
when it is understood that Mount Alexander, Forest Creek, 
Bendigo, and M'lvor were all similarly circumstanced, the 

* Bath's Hotel was opened at the period to which I refer, the precursor 
of the number which succeeded. 

198 life nr victoeia. 

vast influxes of affluent diggers crowding into Melbourne, 
and the tremendous impulse given to business by their enor- 
mous expenditure, ceases to furnish food for amazement, 
while there is the strange and still unaccounted-for feature to 
be superadded to this state of things, that on all the gold- 
fields the very richest leads had been discovered at the out- 
set, whereby green diggers became impressed with the con- 
viction that the treasure dug up in the novitiate of their 
profession was no more than a trifling earnest of the illimit- 
able riches they were to disembowel on a future day, and 
easily led away by this delusion, they squandered and lavished 
amounts of wealth in a month that would have sufficed to 
found decent family inheritances for future generations. 

To the eye of a casual observer like myself, taking the 
focus of aggregation as a guide, the Bakery Hall would have 
been the most likely and central site for the future city, but 
the hill beyond the flat on the other side of the Tarrowee,* 
on which the camp was temporarily erected, was the location 
chosen by Government, and in a spirit of antagonism, I sup- 
pose, the rival hill waa the chosen rallying-point for the 
discontents. There the then all-potent Argus established 
its head-quarters ; there agitating tribunes and the embryo 
rebels had their favourite rendezvous; and thence, when 
great public meetings were held to inveigh against the gold* 
field grievances and discuss their remedies, the voice of the 
people rolled in tones of thunder across the intervening 
space, fluttering the tent-flags of the grim officials. The 
camp of early 1853 was composed of irregular clusters of 
canvas tents, comfortable in their way, but without any 
adjunct of security. Even the treasure repository of the 
gold-receiver, which received the vast in-pourings of that 
unequal gold-field, and held over from escort to escort the 

* Yarrowee is the name of the little river which runs through the Bafla- 
rat gold-field. 


prodigious accumulations of gold-dust, was not composed of 
any more impregnable materials than Benjamin Edgington 
delights in patting together with needle and thread. The 
court-house alone aspired to primitive architectural preten- 
sions in its slab-sided stateliness, being a generation in ad- 
vance of the lock-up, a squat, ill-favoured hovel of green logs 
with a diseased bark on. I cannot pass over the stables, nor 
can I justly include them as part and parcel of the establish- 
ment, for it would be quite as literal to designate a paddock 
a bedroom as to call the bleak, howling wilderness of that 
day a Btable. It had neither sides, ends, roof, nor mangers, 
but simply consisted of rows of naked poles, to which the 
poor shivering animals were hitched up, taking their feed off 
the ground. There was a large weatherboard building in 
process of erection intended to contain a mess and reading- 
room, which was the lion of the locality, and officials rubbed 
their hands in gleeful anticipations of the jolly times they 
would have when it was finished, while the wrathful digger 
would exclaim, " There's the place where the plunder of the 
digger hunts will be consumed." 

There is only one other feature in the general outline of 
the gold-field which I feel called on to notice before coming 
to the topic of real and overtopping interest — its real natural 
wealth — and that is the calling of Btorekeeping, quite a 
unique one in its way, and distinctive from Californian prac- 
tice at a similar age of digging development. For there (in 
California), drafts from different digging parties on the 
various fields mustered according to appointment, and tra- 
velled in largo parties somewhat on the caravan principle, 
bringing back the seasonal supplies. But in Victoria digging 
and storekeeping are of coeval existence, and since the first 
opening of the gold-fields, wherever a group of proepecters* 

* Prospecters are persons who go out on expeditions in search of new 



settled down to test the mineral resources of the locality, no 
matter how stealthily soever they might have separated 
themselves from their previous neighbour, a store, contain- 
ing all the requisites or necessaries they could possibly re- 
quire, arose into existence almost as soon as their last tent- 
peg would be driven into the ground, while in great rushes, 
where tens of thousands swarmed, covering the ground as 
thickly as locusts, a full proportion of well-assorted stores, 
smiling with all their peculiar kaleidoscopic attractions and 
arrangements, almost anticipated the migratory flight, as if 
the proprietors were the lineal and direct heirs and assigns 
of Aladdin and his wonderful lamp. 

Every store in Victoria has a flagstaff in front, from the 
top of which streams the ensign, with its kangaroo, opossum, 
pick and shovel, or any other ingenious device which may 
suggest itself to the astute proprietor, while its bottom is 
encircled by a travelling collar, with a long scope of chain 
attached, to enable a fierce dog to sweep all the approaches 
in the front. Store-dogs, too, are clever in their way, suf- 
ficiently sagacious to discriminate between the quizzing 
loafer and the genuine customer ; and where their suspicions 
are aroused, the uproar they create is almost inconceivable, 
the furious plunges they make towards the enemy causing 
the ensign halliards to whip loudly against the flagstaff; but, 
strange to say, these awe-inspiring brutes are only fierce 
under constraint ; woe betide you if they catch you while in 
their chains, but should a broken link liberate them, their 
ferocity at once dwindles into funk. I saw one of them who 
broke his chain in making a tiger bound at a stranger, but, 
instead of pursuing the fugitive, he turned and fled like a 
cur for shelter amongst the merchandise. The externals of a 
digging store are for the most part pillars of washing-pans, 
nests of buckets and Yankee tubs, cradles, and puddling- 


tubs, interspersed with picks, shovels, gads, Btone hammers, 
crow-bars, and bars of unwrought iron on the one Bide, con- 
fronted on the other by infirm stretchers, on which make- 
believe sacks of flour are reposing in silent proof of their 
great strength, being nothing, however, but sacks of im- 
ponderous bran, decorated with tin teapots and coffee-cans 
pendent from their hips, their middle and lower extremities 
embraced and bestrode by moleskin jacket and pantaloons. 
Side by side with the stretchers are coils of rope, with hatchets, 
hand-saws, and long ripping chisels, growing, like so many 
lusus natures, out of their centres, supported, contrary to all 
laws of association, except the rust, with flitches of odorous 
bacon and casks of travelled mess pork, and preserved fish in 
a state of decomposition. The internals generally consist of 
an odd medley of soft and hard goods, edibles and wearables, 
matches, jumpers, onions, Guernseys, pickles, side-combB, 
sardines, polkas, knives and forks, cigars, Glenfleld's starch, 
tumblers, chocolate, crockery, clasp and butcher knives, 
worsted and percussion-caps, Windsor soap, preserved salmon, 
revolvers, bear's-grease and hair-oil, lobsters in tins, damp 
loaf sugar, muslins and calico, coffee in tins, blue and red 
blankets, second-hand confectionary, hammers and chisels, 
preserved fruits, reels of cotton, and red-herrings, with every 
variety of boots and shoes, from the thigh boot to the Oxford 
shoes, laced-up water-tights, with their thickly iron-shod 
soles, and women's leather-topped boots, and an infinity of 
other articles too numerous to mention. 

At the end of the store a screen shuts off the small portion 
where the inmates reside, which is usually comfortable, in 
comparison with the surrounding households, although with 
scarcely any furniture save that strictly appertaining to the 
table and the culinary department, and that of the scantiest 
and plainest description — kegs doing duty for seats, trunks 


for tables, bales of soft goods for couches, and every other 
want being supplied after a similar fashion. A deserted 
gold hole in the rear standing in the lieu of a refuse pit, 
which on some future day, long after nature has skinned over 
the orifice, will probably present curious matter for contem- 
plation to unborn naturalists. 

At our evening seances round the blazing log-fires in 
front of the tent I made a large circle of acquaintances, who 
all kindly expressed their readiness to give me any informa- 
tion they possessed, and afford me all facilities for examina- 
tion and inquiry in my search for gold-fields, knowledge, and* 
intelligence; and as I happened to be placed in the very 
centre of auriferous attraction, with the Canadian Ghilly on 
one side, the Prince Eegent's on the other, with the Gravel- 
pits, the Eed Hills, Dalton's and Winter's Flat contiguous, 
I resolved on profiting by the volunteer offers made me, 
while my friends were engaged in bottoming their hole ; after 
which it was arranged that W — 1 — n was to take a fortnight's 
spell in Melbourne, and I was to take his place, changing 
the scene of operations to Dalton's Flat, then rising into 
repute with comparatively shallow sinking. 

In fulfilment of my resolution, I provided myself with a 
tin basin and a handy pick, the accoutrement of a fossicker, 
determined to test the tailings in each district, being satis- 
fied from my previous experience, and from seeing the rude 
and hurried manner in which the richest stuff was washed 
out, cradled, and run through the long lines, that a large, if 
not the largest, proportion of the pure gold was lost. This 
impression was strengthened from the crowds of professed 
fossickers who hung on the outskirts of the various local 
diggings, driving a flourishing business in rewashing the 
refuse of the haut ton of the gold-fields, who, unlike the rich 
man of old, did not grudge to their needy brethren the crumbs 


which fell from their superabundance. [Further confirmation 
was derived from my canny Scotch friends, who were already 
beginning to look up in the world from the profits of their 
secondary occupation ; for they not only paid a first instal- 
ment of their liability to Mr. S— d — r, but had marked out 
a claim, which one of them was occupied in shepherding, 
quite confident, as they told me, that before any of the sur- 
rounding ones could be bottomed, they would be in a posi- 
tion to commence a hole on their own account, and ascend 
on the social ladder from the non-commissioned grade of 
fossickers to the rank of diggers. 

As it soon became hinted about that I was merely in quest 
of information, and had no intention of settling down or 
trenching on the common law rights or privileges of the 
regular accredited fossickers, so far from being regarded 
with an eye of jealousy, or looked on as an intruder, I was 
quite a favourite, and was gladly answered any question, or 
accorded any aid I happened to require. I began by trying 
some dishfuls of tail-dirt, taken from the heaps of parties 
with whom I was intimate ; and although the thick, turbid 
state of the water in the gully was anything but favourable 
for so nice an operation as catching the very fine gold closely 
commingled, as it always is, with almost impalpable black 
sand, I never washed a panful without at worst getting an 
appreciable quantity of the precious metal, and frequently 
close upon half a pennyweight. I showed my acquaintances 
the results of my experiments, and endeavoured to shame 
them out of their wilful waste, but the standard of daily 
remuneration — the returns per tub — were so exorbitant in 
these days, they only smiled in commiseration at my small 
and narrow estimates of recompense. I tried several heaps 
in the neighbouring gullies with about the same average, so 
that I began accumulating such a nice little heap in my 



match-box,* I entertained serious notions of putting my 
note-book aside altogether and adopting my new profession. 
Before extending the sphere of my fossicking operations 
beyond the neighbourhood, I tried another experiment, 
from being given to understand that its riches were dis- 
covered from surface deposits which were altogether aban- 
doned in contempt when the first good hole was bottomed, 
and buried beneath the deep strata of stuff taken out iu the 
progress of shaft-sinking. In this operation I took a shovel 
to my aid, and after two days' hard work I cleared out a 
space eight feet square, which, at a depth of a little over 
eight feet, brought me to the original surface stratum, and 
here I found the soil pretty generally impregnated with 
tolerably fine gold — indeed, to an extent that would have 
paid well for sluicing or cradling, even at the wages rates of 
the day. In my hole the auriferous dirt varied in depth 
from one foot to twenty inches, though some old hands 
assured me they knew that in places it went so deep as four 
feet. "Without overtoiling myself, I averaged half an ounce 
per day for the three days I was engaged in washing out my 
hole. This fact I made known in the neighbourhood, with- 
out inducing any other enterprising individual to go and do 
likewise. Even the fossicking tribe were so perfectly content 
with their own branch of business, they did not try a single 
experiment of the kind, and to the present day the vast 
surface deposits of those localities remain inhumed in their 
primeval cemeteries, and will so continue until associated 
capital and the powers of machinery are brought to bear on 
some comprehensive and wholesale plan of elimination work- 
ing in connexion with some more improved process of dis- 

* The common lucifer-match box, in the absence of deer in Australia 
supplies the place of the buckskin purse of the Californian miner, and when 
choke-full of gold-dust offers a strong contrast in value when compared with 
its original contents. 


integration than that in use even at the present day — the 
alluvial digging in Victoria. 

Itafterwards extended the range of my rambles to all the 
flats and gullies comprised in the district, which then was 
considered as Ballarat proper, and while in no single in- 
stance, out of some thousands of trials, did I ever finish up a 
washing without at least getting — in mining slang — the 
colour, I on numerous occasions got returns that surprised 
me. In order still further to refine on my second-hand 
discoveries, which struck me at the time as important, 
and which I still consider as eminently deserving the most 
serious attention of capital and science, I made some common 
dish-washing experiments in the tail-washings of the fos- 
sickers, and I found that even the refuse of those diggings 
scavengers contained considerable quantities of fine gold. 
When I say common dish-washing experiments, I do not 
intend to convey that I went through the operation in a 
hurried or careless manner, but I do affirm that I took no 
other means of securing the gold from those tailings than in 
procuring cleaner water for the concluding part of the opera- 
tion. But satisfying myself, even in that primitive way, 
that they were not wholly valueless, I took home to the tent 
on five different occasions, from different localities, dishfuls 
of these fossickers' tailings, and from these five parcels, 
subjected to the amalgamating test of quicksilver and milk- 
warm water, I obtained twenty-two grains of very fine gold, 
which goes far to satisfy me that the day is not far distant 
when large fortunes will be extracted from the deserted 
gold-fields of Victoria, by putting every particle of dirt from 
the rock bottom to the surface through some cleansing and 
amalgamating process. And then I believe the resources 
of this inexhaustible country will not nearly have reached 
their adult stage of development, a conjecture I am 


perfectly warranted in indulging in from the present re- 
sults of mining enterprise, for the rock is now no longer 
regarded as the bottom; the miner now blasts through 
the solid blue stone or trap reef, and at depths in many in- 
stances of three hundred feet, discovers highly remunerative, 
nay, enriching deposits of the precious metal, all apparently 
trending towards the west, as if converging to a point, and 
as many of the principal leads have united in their progress, 
the orthodox creed of the miner is, that a point exists at 
which they all unite in a real river of gold. One thing, how- 
ever, is certain — that the more modern discoveries of the 
miner — who ceases to be digger when he comes to deal with 
igneous rock— prove the utter fallacy of the conclusion 
arrived at by the Scientific Mining Commission appointed 
under the auspices of the late Sir Charles Hotham, which 
would almost lead the public to believe that, as far as gold 
is concerned, the blue stone or lava rock (trap, as I believe 
it is technically called) is the floor of creation, leaving no* 
thing metallic or mineralogies! to be sought for beneath it, 
though common sense — which unfortunately is a popular 
paradox-— would favour the conjecture that when all sub- 
stances were in a state of fusion the heavier would attain 
the lower level ; and in my shallow and limited knowledge 
of metallurgy, it would appear to me as an inevitable con- 
sequence, that if six several metals were melted in a crucible, 
and then allowed to cool, they would all form distinct strata, 
the lighter forming the upper, the heavier the lower stra- 
tum, while with particles in a state of aqueous admixture 
the same result would ensue, though not perhaps in so 
thoroughly distinctive a character. But whether gold was 
distributed by volcanic or aqueous convulsion, it would natu- 
rally suggest itself to ordinary comprehension that wherever 
it exists — if it does at all exist-— in enormous masses, it 
should take its place according to its gravity, and that when 



nature succeeded chaos the laws of gravitation had their 
influence in the peculiar arrangement of matter. But, as 
unlearned people have no right to think or dilate on these 
abstruse and profound subjects, I will for the present abstain 
from any further conjecture, and content myself in offering 
a few nuts for cracking to those deep-thinking savans who 
see so much further into the millstone of nature than their 

It is universally known, amidst all the puzzles of the gold 
question, that quartz is the matrix of the precious metal, 
holding it in its undisturbed or primeval state, in strict em- 
brace—if I may use an understandable word, in ignorance of 
the technical term — and it was generally held as an in- 
variable rule that, notwithstanding the innumerable and 
extraordinary caprices of nature, the evidences of original 
association or connexion between the matrix and the metal 
could not be wholly obliterated — that, whether the segre- 
gation was effected by meanB of volcanic convulsion, or by 
the more cognisable agency of falls and water-courses, a 
traceable chain of the early affinity is always to be found by 
the close examiner, or prospecter, as he is vulgarly called. In 
California, quartz was denominated the gold blossom, and 
no one thought of looking for gold unless the quartz gravel 
appeared as an indication of its contiguity ; and even in Vic- 
toria the popularly received theory of the alluvial deposits 
is, that the quartz reefs were at one time upheaved above 
the surface when the action of the atmosphere, and the 
operation of rains and surface water, brought about decom- 
position and disintegration, scattering the gold over the soil, 
or concentrating it in gully-gutters or leads, the richness of 
the gully being altogether dependent on that of the conti- 
guous reef; and certainly, in many cases, particularly in the 
Bendigo district, Tarrangona, and others, nuggets and large 
specimens are very generally found in the alluvial workings, 


bo mingled and associated with, quartz as to favour this con- 
jecture. But, like most of all the other conjectures about 
the formation and distribution of gold, just as it is about 
being solemnly ratified as an infallible article of doctrine, 
some undreamt-of exception arises and skakes the plausible 
theory on its sandy foundation, producing new schisms and 
heresies in this grand mundane mammonite religion. Ballarat 
furnishes just such an exception ; for in all the great and glo- 
rious leads in the Canadian or the Prince Begent's Gullies, in 
the Gravel-pits or the many other well-developed diggings in 
that locality, there is almost a total absence of quartz reefs ; 
and that remarkable, coarse, white, rounded quartz drift, or 
that of a newer and poorer, of an angular character, which 
are deemed the invariable associates of golden deposits, only 
form a very insignificant proportion of the tail-stuff to be 
found in that unequalled field. In all the holes I examined, 
and in all the most remarkable ones concerning which I made 
the most minute and particular inquiries, the presence of 
quartz was the exception to the general rule. In ail the 
great leads its appearance was rare, and only in small thin 
veins, which, if of gold in their integrity, would constitute 
only an insignificant comparison to the quantities contained 
in the gutters. While on Golden Point and the Black 
Hill, where considerable reefs exist, the scientific analogy is 
again completely inverted, so much so, that the working in 
quartz there has been discontinued, after ruining several, 
who, stimulated by their faith in the geological doctrine, 
risked their capital in the enterprise. In fact, I think I am 
correct in asserting that at the present time (November, 
1857), the only quartz mill in the Ballarat district is one at 
Golden Poini, which is engaged crushing the drift-gravel 
contained in the tailings, a series of facts which so com- 
pletely subverts the preconceived speculations of the learned 


in these matters, that it is to be hoped they will devote 
their inquiring minds to find out another and a truer ex- 
planation of this apparently anomalous state of things. 
When, in the chronological course of my rambles, I come to 
deal more at length and detail with the quartz question, I 
shall be again compelled to come more directly in conflict 
with the reports of the commission appointed by the Go- 
vernment to inquire into the mining resources of the colony, 
which give currency to opinions and pronounce dogmatic 
dicta wholly unsupportable in practice, at variance with the 
existing state of things, and which, moreover, are calculated 
most seriously to prejudice and retard the development of 
the mineral resources of Victoria. 

Writing a desultory book of this sort, the poor scribe is 
most fortunately exempt from the stern discipline of the 
dramatic writers, and I therefore have to request my gentle 
reader to assign me whatever time best suits his convenience 
— within the limits of six weeks — as the period during which 
I was engaged in my fossicking experiments ; after which I 
will take him a limited, but I trust instructive, stroll, 
descending, examining, and exploring shafts and drives — wet 
and dry, slabbed and unslabbed, deep and shallow, rich and 
poor, as the case may be — always premising, lest it should ex- 
cite his suspicion or curiosity, that the abandoned holes with 
lob sides and hen-nest bottoms which I may hurry him past 
without a passing peep or observation, are in ninety-nine cases 
out of a hundred the maiden essays of these kid-gloved, soft- 
handed, high-stooled, counter-jumping, raisin-picking, tape- 
measuring, brief-drafting, special-pleading, demme-uttering 
gents, who were unable to settle down at their distinctive 
callings in Melbourne or the Pivot City without in the first 
instance proving satisfactorily, or perhaps painfully, to their 
aching loins and arms, that digging is " a mockery, a delusion, 

TOL. I, P 


and a snare," and that the gold which they saw the improvident 
diggers sowing broadcast in the public-houses and depraved 
haunts, as if it were obtained an the surface by the simple 
effort of stooping for it, is locked up in more inaccessible 
safety than that in the bullion vaults of the Bank of Bug- 
land — the military stratum, of course, always excepted — {for, 
start a Cornish miner and a swell cracksman on equal terms, 
the one on the surface at the Gravel-pits, and the other out- 
side the mason work in Threadneedle-street, and I will back 
the latter fifty to one to bag his booty before the other 
reaches the gutter. California, shallow as were its placer work- 
ings, proved even a poser to those classes. It is not, there- 
fore, to be expected that they can have any chance, except, 
perhaps, in the ratio of " angels' visits," in dealing with the 
" long-gutted" holes of Victoria, where every digging has its 
"New Chum Mat" or "New Chum Gully," christened 
because of the shallowness of the sinking and its supposed 
suitability to the Johnny Newcomes, or amateur diggers. 
Lest I should forget introducing it in a more appropriate 
place, I will tack on to the end of this chapter another dis- 
covery I made in the course of my fossicking career— that 
would more properly befit Mr. Timbs's periodical entitled 
" Things not Generally Known" — which is, that mushrooms 
do not spring up from sheep ordure, for I saw the chumps 
and grooves of them covering the tumuli of pipeclay thrown 
up from the bottom of deep holes, at a level where sheep 
never trod, except, perhaps, the progenitors of the pair that 
Noah selected when Bailing in the Great Eastern of the 
olden times. I never saw mushrooms exceeding them in 
perfection ; and I am speaking within limits when I declare 
Jthat, from a small mound of pipeclay, I could have filled the 
largest wheelbarrow. 

^' w J 1 -^^^^- ^^^vqpapa 



The unwritten Laws of the Diggings — A brief Outline — Shepherds — 
fihicers and Crown Jewels — The most watchful Shepherds sometimes out- 
witted — An Illustration or Ground Section of a Digger's Shaft — Exemplar 
Shaft — Mode of Working — Danger from slovenly Slabbing — From foul 
Air—My fearful State while exploring a Drive— An auriferous Head of 
Hair— Digger* of the early contrasted with those of the present Day — 

An unlucky Party — Mr. M'C n's Claim — Singular Phenomenon — 

Obscurity of its Origin — Scene of a melancholy Tragedy — Kind Feeling 
of the Populace— The Jewellers' Shops— The Blacksmith's Claim— Its 
unparalleled Richness — The aggregate Yield 55,20021— The Dalgleish 
Claim — The Waldridge Claim — Extraordinary Yield from a Tub at the 
Gravel-pit — The Bed Hill Lead— A Symposiao at Ballarat — The Scene 
animate and inanimate— Its Conclusion— Cause of the Surface Nakedness 
of Ballarat. 

B3&70BE continuing my narrative, I think it would be well 
to give a brief outline of the code of unwritten laws under 
which the affairs at the gold-fields were administered in 
1853, and also to append a plain sketch, which, I hope, will 
conduce to the better understanding of my descriptions. I 
should suppose, from the similarity of the rules and regula- 
tions in vogue in Victoria t© those pre-existing in California, 
that perhaps Mr. Hargrove* imported them together with 
his experience from the latter country, and that the Aus- 
.ta&Han Govenxmenffcs adopted them with such modifications 
and additions as the different aspect of the southern gold- 
fields called for. It was competent ior .any person, finding 
an unoccupied space oh any flat or golly, to mark out a space 



of twenty-four feet as his claim, and all the mineral deposits 
discovered in that area from the surface to the bottom, within 
perpendicular lines, was his property, guaranteed by Govern- 
ment authority and power, provided the party worked under 
the sanction of a license, then fixed at the rate of 30s. per 
month ; but wanting that, he worked without legal warrant, 
and any other person possessed of a license might jump* the 
claim, even after the golden deposits were come to, as a sub* 
sequent payment, or one made under constraint, constituted 
no protection, not having a retrospective effect. There was 
no specified time fixed on for the carrying down of shafts, 
first, because they vary so much in depth and in the nature 
of the strata through which they are sunk ; secondly, because 
the influx of water is so capricious and irregular it admitted 
of no approach even to equitable definement, while the pro- 
gress of operations was arbitrarily regulated by the quantity 
which came in, for in what were designated very wet holes 
the baling out of the water consumed more time and labour 
than the sinking itself. But over and above these obstacles 
to defining a graduated period, the wide and illimitable 
differences in the natural endowments, the physical abilities 
of diggers, completely precluded the possibility of inventing 
any sliding-scale calculated to give general satisfaction, or 
that would afford a sufficient protection to men of weakly 
bodies but energetic minds in competing with the case- 
hardened Cornish miner, or the iron-thewed navvy. It was, 
therefore, concluded best to leave time an open question ; 
and so long as a licensed digger could prove to the satisfac- 
tion of the commissioner that he did any amount of daily 
work in his hole, let it be of ever so trifling a description, 
and left any mining implements in it as a token of occupa- 

* Jumping is the technical term for ejecting on unlicensed digger — the 
person ejecting literally jumping into the hole. 


tion, his right of possession was held to endure. This led to 
the evil of shepherding (explained in a previous chapter), 
when indolent parties contented themselves with throwing 
out a few shovelfuls of stuff each day in order to eke out the 
time until the more industrious diggers around them arrive 
at the bottom, and then, if the gutter is found to trend in 
their direction, they commence energetic operations in going 
down themselves ; but, if it turns out otherwise, they desert 
the holes as shicers,* devoting them to the Queen with cer- 
tain execrations, and the ceremony of dashing down stones, 
which are designated the " Crown Jewels." 

In some cases, however, the shepherds are well and de- 
servedly mulcted for their slothfulness by diggers who, after 
exhausting the gutter within the limits of their own claims, 
continue following it into the shepherd's territory, without 
the possibility of detection or prevention ; for at best the 
shepherd can have no stronger clue than suspicion, as he 
durst not go down his neighbour's Bhafb without permission— 
never very liberally accorded between diggers — and of course 
certain to be refused in cases such as I allude to. He might 
seek the intervention of the commissioner, but in vain, unless 
armed with some better proof than vague suspicion ; for that 
functionary, in most cases constitutionally averse from the 
bore of superfluous occupation, has or had quite enough of 
legitimate and undeniable calls to attend to without opening . 
the door to a class of cases which would increase the evils of 
shepherding, and multiply them to the utter exclusion of bond 
fide business. The only course open, under such circumstances, 
to dispel or confirm the suspicion, and redress the encroach- 
ment, is for the shepherds to go down themselves, when they 

* Shicer, a term applied to deserted holes in the Victorian diggings, 
baring a different signification in the German language, from which it is 



very frequently find the bottom a perfect honeycomb, the 
natural purse alone remaining, without a speck of the rich 

I subjoin a simple sketch, designed to convey a proximate 
notion of the random way in which claims are marked out,, as 
well as to show the irregular and capricious course taken 
by the gold leads, or gutters, as they are called. We will 
suppose the page to stand *-+*, the reef running North and 
South, and the gutter, as it most generally does, East and 



It will be observed that at the point where the reef inter- 
sects the gutter the lead takes] a capricious jump. Some- 
times it breasts the reef, as water does a ledge of rock, going 


straight oyer; but in eases where the reef dips, or takes 
a shelving inclination, the gutter, diverging sometimes at a 
sharp angle, crosses at a point where it meets less obstruc- 
tion. In eases of this kind, in the early days (1853), the 
lead was said " to be lost," some supposing it to have sunk 
suddenly, others that it ran out from exhaustion, and others, 
adopting the analogy of intermitting rivers, that it would 
rise again somewhere in the neighbourhood. So that the 
diggers of that particular locality, like a pack of hounds at 
fault, would take' a wide range of casts about, in expectation 
of picking up the scent again, and when one party hit it off, 
another scene of shepherding commenced, to see the line it 
would next follow. 

Let us suppose that No. 1 party in the sketch having gone 
down, and finding the lead passing through a corner of their 
claim in a southward trend, communicate the circumstance 
to a friendly party in No. 2, who also having gone down and 
drawn blank, suspect that the still more southerly claim, 
marked No. 3, and owned by a dilettante party of gentle 
shepherds, is the one which intersects it. Being sharp, 
energetic fellows, and seeing that the pastoral diggers, by no 
excess of human exertion, could possibly sink ninety feet 
while they are doing less than one-third of the distance on 
easier terms, they commence their subterranean excava- 
tions, taking up the stuff as if it were from their own drive. 
So soon, however, as the shepherds discover their neighbours 
cradling rich- washing stuff, they " off coats and to work like 
good 'uns •" but days before they get down the premises have 
been cleaned out, and the riflers are at work in a distant 
gold-field, beyond the reach of all interference.. Had they 
been caught flagrante delicto, local authority might have 
been arbitrarily stretched to enforce restitution ; but I never, 



in my extended experience, knew of any case where the 
delinquents were dealt with beyond the limits of the original 
jurisdiction, nor do I believe that the law, either now or then 
— most certainly not then — could have sanctioned any such 
proceeding. The dotted lines from No. 2 to No. 3 show 
where the shepherds' claim was driven into. 

I will now shortly explain the " Exemplar Shaft," which, 
as shown in the sketch, is intended to represent an horizontal 
section of the bottom ; but, before I explain the illustration, 
I deem it necessary to describe the construction of the shaft 
from the surface. In the deep wet holes slabbing is always 
indispensable, to prevent their falling in and smothering the 
workmen. Slabbed holes are generally four feet by two feet 
ten inches, and as they could not be well or securely slabbed 
downwards from the surface, the digger first sinks nine feet, 
and slabs upwards, and so continues proceeding in spells of 
nine feet all the way down. Arrived at the bottom, " A," 
the digger plants his strong uprights firmly, to answer as 
door-posts to the drive, and, having secured them well, the 
slabs covering the space are removed, and a strong lintel, at 
least four inches thick, is placed overhead, and stoutly fixed ; 
thus the doorway to drive " B," on the north side, is first 
erected, and a similar one to drive " B," on the south side, 
subsequently. As the drive is excavated, straight-edged slabs 
are inserted over the lintel, and placed longitudinally over- 
head to serve as a shield, being supported at the other end 
by strong posts called " tailors," and so they are continued 
in lengths until the extremity of the claim is reached. All 
the stuff in drive " B" is hoisted to the surface by the simple 
agency of a windlass and buckets, and should there be any 
washing dirt met with it is thrown in a heap by itself. The 
lateral drives " C" are then commenced at the extreme north 

ii < " *• f^n"vanmi^««NHi!^q^v^pH|mm^q^| 



and south ends of the claim, and the worthless stuff thrown 
into the end of drive "B," to save the labour and delay of 
hoisting ; and so the driving is carried on, until the claim is 
completely riddled, perforated, and honeycombed. In some 
cases the sides of the drives require slabbing, from the 
rottenness of the ground, which operation is performed by 
placing on each side upright slabs, with the top ends inserted 
inside the horizontal ones, and the lower ends in a groove or 
gutter cut in the bottom. Thus the digger who uses proper 
care works in a complete wooden shield ; but many of the 
slovenly class, in their eagerness to clutch their reward, 
neglect the proper precautions, and numerous fatal accidents 
have been the consequence. 

The arrangement overground is an ordinary windlass, 
with a barrel sufficiently long to admit of having two buckets 
rigged on, so that when the shaft attains a good depth one 
is going down as the other is coming up. About the same 
time a wind-sail becomes necessary, into which the air is 
injected by a pair of fanners. The parties work in shifts* of 
four, so that when they number twelve to a party there are 
three shifts in the twenty-four hours, each taking eight-hour 
spells; but where they are confined to eight, as is more 
generally the case, there are only two shifts of twelve-hour 
spells, when the labour is truly excessive, admitting of no in- 
termission night or day, save during their hurried dinner- 
time ; after which the men in the shaft remain aboveground, 
and vice versd. I omitted mentioning in the proper place 
that when the bottom is reached the stuff is cleared off, and 
a well, proportioned to the leakage, is sunk in the rock, to 
keep the floor of the drives drained. This well is completely 

• " Shift" is the synonyme for the " watch" of the sailor, the " guard" of 
the soldier, or the " gang" of the navvy. 

218 xixx is victohul 

emptied out just previous to the dinner spell, and contains 
the leakage of that period without overflow. There were a 
few eases of suffocation from foul air during iny visit - r but 
although the air or damp extinguishes life^ unlike that in the 
coal mines it is not sufficiently impregnated with hydrogen 
to light or explode. Its presence is first indicated by a 
languor hi the candle-flame, then s difficulty of respiration; 
but as it increases, the candle is only saved from extinguish- 
ment by being held — strange as it may seem — in nearly an 
inverted position, when the circumambient air commences 
spitting, almost like damp powder, and the lungs are affected 
precisely as they would be after a long and sharp race. 

I went down a few circular dry shafts in Prince Begenfc's 
Gully by way of apprenticeship, and I worked myself on my 
back into some of those low drives which don't require 
shielding, and would not admit of being worked in any 
other position, as they could not with safety be made of 
larger dimensions. Yet, lying on his back, frequently in 
drain-water, during his spell, with only space enough to work 
a small pick in a very cramped manner, the digger will not 
only work to* the boundary of his own chum, but into his 
neighbour's territory, if word comes down from above that 
the " dart"* is payable. In a weak moment I assented to 
go feet foremost into one of these man-holes, and having 
agreed on making the essay, I worked myself along in the 
dark by means of my hands with a sort of blind determina- 
tion, occasionally in moments of exhaustion taking in mouth- 
fuls of dirt instead of pure air, and continually breathing 
earnest prayers for the proximity of the terminus. When 
at length I found my heels were denied any further entrance, 
I opened my eyes with the same caution I would in a hail* 

* Dart is the designation of stuff worth washing, as contradistinguished 
from that considered useless. 


•bower, tmt r nevertheless,, some sharp gravel that had been 
watching ita opportunity effected an entrance; the winking 
glance, however, sufficed to satisfy me that I was in utter 
darkness. I listened a moment for sounds, but the throbbing 
of my heart was the only sound audible ; and then, after a 
■hart pause, I made a convulsive effort to turn over, which 
well-nigh ended in my burial, from the quantity of stuff it 
brought down upon me, I now really began to think my 
time was come r as I felt a choking, smothering sensation, 
with a sense of fulness in the head. Had I become desperate 
I should have been lost, but my resignation saved me, so I 
made now a calm effort, in imitation; — if I could liken it to 
anything — of a man pinioned and spancelled endeavouring 
to swim ; and feeling that I progressed somewhat, I repeated 
the effort cautiously for some time, and then ventured raising 
my head a little to look for daylight, but not a glimmer 
could I see. I thought it strange, and felt sadly disap- 
pointed, but I resignedly struck out for another swim, re- 
solved to make as many as my strength would allow of 
before looking again, and nattering myself with the hope 
that it would burst upon me at an early moment. But after 
a series of painful struggles, in which my knees, my elbows, 
and my finger-nails seemed to weep blood or perspiration, I 
took another nervous peep — alas ! into Cimmerian gloom*-* 
and now, indeed, despair began to supervene. I endeavoured 
to reflect, but reflection brought no comfort ; on the contrary, 
comparing the time of my entrance with that occupied in my 
attempts at escape, I was led to think that I had missed my 
way by getting unconsciously into another drive, leading God 
knows where; but while revolving this melancholy appre- 
hension in my now sinking mind, I thought — the dream, of 
course, preceding dissolution — I heard the sounds of muffled 
laughter, and before I could discriminate whether it 



from the distant rejoicing of angels at the advent of a kindred 
spirit, or the fiendish glee of my evil genius at finding me in 
extremis, a temporary barrier was suddenly removed, and I 
found myself close by the mouth of the drive, and my com- 
panions bursting with merriment at their joke. I suppose I 
made a laughable attempt at joining in the glee, for they 
opened out into a perfect roar as I fairly emerged and con- 
fronted them. But although I by no means relished it, I pre- 
tended with all my might to enjoy the fun. "When I attained 
the surface I procured some water to wash in, for my head, 
face, beard, and hands were coated with clauber,* made up of 
dirt and perspiration ; and after performing my ablutions, one 
of my friends shouted out, " Look here, mates ! look here, 
I say!" and there, sure enough, in the bottom of the bucket 
was a good half-ounce of fine gold, which all swore was 
washed out of my hair, but'which I had my strong suspicions 
was slily slipped in while I was engaged in the operation of 
scrubbing. In this instance, however, I had the enjoyable 
end of the joke, for they would have it that the gold came 
out of my hair, and that it should go into my match-box. 
But I would warn my unsophisticated readers, notwith- 
standing my good fortune, not to be prone to enter drives in 
the present or on a future day, for the digger of 1853 is no 
longer in existence, neither has he left any heirs or imita- 
tors, nor are his traditions regarded as exemplars, for I 
really believe if an explorer became possessed of an auriferous 
head of hair now-a-days, under circumstances parallel to 
mine, that the digger would shave him to the scalp lest any 
washing dirt might link about the roots, and then not pre- 
sent him with a grain big enough to balance on the point of 
a cambric needle. This may appear a sort of sweeping im- 

* Clauber is a sort of consistent paste made of mad and moisture, un- 
known to Johnson. . 

THE DIGGEE OF 1857. 221 

putation on the character of the digger of 1857, but I do not 
intend it as such by any manner of means, nor as any impu- 
tation whatsoever. I rather intend, on the contrary, while 
attempting an illustrative contrast, to pay a compliment to 
the present race. There is no class of men in existence who 
earn their money harder or deserve it better, and I am 
delighted to think they have improved in prudence and 
common sense, and are above the weakness or false delicacy 
of letting a chance visitor — who does not roam about con- 
ferring favours — walk away with two guineas' worth of gold- 
dust in his whiskers. The shopkeeper who would be too 
timid to inform a customer that he was unconsciously carry- 
ing off a remnant of Brussels lace on his button, would not 
be well calculated to stem the torrent of competition which 
now reigns throughout the world. 

My next essay was in some deep wet holes in the heart of 
the gully, where the sinking was close upon one hundred 
feet. One of these in particular was as closely and artisti- 
cally slabbed as time and tools could make it, but my admi- 
ration was, if possible, increased on finding that there was 
not an individual tradesman of the party. They were all of 
the better class, who commenced their digging career with 
the awkwardness natural in cases of the sort, but continued 
improving until their shafts became models for imitation. 
But they had been uniformly unfortunate, never having 
struck a lead in all their sinkings. They had exhausted 
their capital, but their character for industry was such they 
got credit freely for all the necessaries of life, the ready 
money necessary for such outgoings as pick and crowbar 
pointing, and all other kind of smith work, being found by 
two professional men of the party, one a doctor and the 
other a lawyer, both of whom, on occasion, resorted to their 
professions. In the shaft I went down their usual luck 

222 site nr yictobia. 

attended them, for although they had all bat exhausted sill 
their drives, they had not, to use a current phrase, "nosed 
the colour." 

Close by this shaft was one of a friendly acquaintance, 
Mr. M'C n, about the same depth, put down in a rough- 
and-ready way, but paying admirably. I could easily per- 
ceive the gold in the dirt as it came up in the buckets, and 
after I went down I saw a small heap at the drive mouth, 
which, to use the favourite simile, was studded with gold like 
a plum-pudding with currants. I could have picked out a 
pound weight in a short time with my fingers, for the gold 
was large and nuggety, and during my stay I saw a small 
shovelful taken out of the drive, in which the precious metal 
preponderated over the dirt. In this shaft, too, I had an 
excellent opportunity of witnessing a most extraordinary, 
and, to my mind, unaccountable phenomenon — a sort of 
surging increase of water from the lower drifts, as if the 
drainage had been intercepted, and the flow backed up. At 
first it was moderate, scarcely perceptible, but it quickly 
augmented, causing the men to knock off, as all efforts to 
stem or overmaster it by baling were fruitless. I made 
searching] inquiries about it, and all the information I could 
collect on the subject concurred in confirming the general 
prevalence of this strange diurnal visitation in all the deep 
sinkings of the gold-field. It recurs daily, but not at stated 
times ) making its ebb and flow felt simultaneously in the 
entire district as if subject to lunar influences. When it 
was first discovered, the tidal movements of the ocean were 
supposed to influence it to some extent, but the elevation of 
the district above the level of the sea at once demonstrates 
the absurdity of the conjecture, and even were it possible 
that the ocean oonld affect the rise and fall of the water, it 
should necessarily occur twice in the twenty-four hours. 

A TBAGIO STO&7. 223 

The explanation of the phenomenon must, .therefore, be 
sought for amongst some other of the agencies of nature. I 
have never heard it accounted for in a sound or feasible 
manner, nor am I disposed to offer a sucmise of my own on 
the subject ; but it is one which is well calculated to chal- 
lenge close and curious inquiry. 

I was afterwards pointed out a hole which proved the 
scene of a melancholy tragedy. It was respected as sacred 
ground, and although the claim had only been bottomed, 
and never driven, situated as well in a likely neighbourhood, 
no one seemed to peer down it with a lustful or avaricious 
eye. On Sundays and holidays many people visited it, but 
there was an air of mournful silent respect in their manner, 
as if they conversed in sighs over the ashes in a hallowed 
tomb. The curse of the reckless digger was hushed within 
the precincts of the place, and the finger of the thief never 
dared to touch the various implements strewed about the 
grim windlass which marked the scene of the unfortunate 
digger's fate. The party to which it belonged came out 
from home together, schoolfellows, brother collegians, all of 
them with gentle blood in their veins. They had a moderate 
joint-stock capital at landing in the country, which they 
carried direct to the diggings to escape the allurements of 
city life. They ware remarked, wherever they went to work, 
as most temperate and industrious in their habits, acquiring 
esteem and popularity from their kind and obliging disposi- 
tions. But they were not favourites of fortune ; they always 
came down on a barren bottom, and their neighbours at 
length came to remark on their ill-luck, and sympathise in 
their adversity. Their capital, under the strictest economy, 
quickly dwindled -away, hvtt they were too proud to admit 
their poverty or ask for credit, so when their money failed 
they disposed of their little trinkets and jewellery to lucky 


diggers in order to procure the meanest necessaries, never in. 
their sorest trials evincing the slightest gloom or impatience. 
Even when the last locket, emptied of its sacred contents, 
was transferred to the rugged bosom of an unwashed pur- 
chaser, to enable them to carry out their last experiment, they 
went to work with all their habitual cheerfulness and 
serenity ; and many a fervent wish, akin to a prayer, was 
entertained by their acquaintances that they would at last 
meet their reward. On, on they worked, down, down they 
went, with a steady rapidity as if assured of success ; and one 
day, as the evening hour was approaching, a cry, a tone of 
exultation, came up from the bottom of the shaft. " Haul 
up, my boys — haul away ; the time is come at last !" and his 
mates did haul away with gladsome hearts, hauling the more 
heartily from the great weight coming up. But alas ! alas I 
when it came to the surface, instead of a bucket of gold it 
was the dead body of their dear companion. He had struck 
the barren bottom during his spell below, and detaching the 
bucket, he fixed a noose round his neck, and called upon his 
dearest friends to strangle him. JSTever was there so large 
or sorrowing a funeral on the diggings; and ere the next 
sun arose, the remainder of the party had departed, no one at 
the time knew whither. Had they remained, and could they 
have been prevailed upon to accept it, a thousand pounds in 
gold-dust would have been collected in an hour to start them 
afresh, for their troops of friends did not harbour a single 
ill-wisher. I abstain from giving the initials lest I should 
recal unpleasant memories in the breasts of their relatives, 
but I have reason to believe some of the same party are still 
in the colony in the Government employ, preserving the 
same estimable character for which they were collectively 

I went down several other deep wet holes, which would 


almost lure an anchorite from his solitary cell, or entice a fat 
bishop from his rich living in expectation of increasing his 
bank balance. I also had fresh proofs of the water pheno- 
mena without any approximation to its creating cause, but I 
was immovable in my persistent determination to eschew 
drive-exploring, save in those where I could move along by 
the ordinary means of locomotion. At length I came to the 
celebrated shafts christened " The Jewellers' Shops," from 
their surpassing richness, sunk at the junction of the Canadian 
and Prince Begent's leads, where both become concentrated 
in a common gutter. The line ran at the foot of the gullies, 
and was correspondingly wet and difficult of working. 

I made my first descent in what was called " The Black- 
smith's Claim," from being opened by a person of that craft. 
It was about the most slovenly, ill-sunk shaft I ever ven- 
tured down, being so far from the perpendicular that at times 
the half of the orifice above was obscured, and it was slabbed 
in so insecure a manner that flakes of stuff were being con- 
stantly forced through the wide slits, falling down, to the 
imminent danger of the people below. This danger was fear- 
fully aggravated by the partial tipping over of the buckets 
while ascending, from their contact with the irregular sides 
of the shaft, at times upsetting half their contents ; but the 
irregularities proved both the bane and the antidote, for a 
heavy pebble, or flake of stuff, which in a perpendicular de- 
scent of ninety feet would cause certain death, was rendered 
comparatively harmless by having its fall frequently broken. 
The blacksmith's party was composed of eight persons, most 
of them novices in the new profession, which accounts for the 
faulty construction of the shaft. When they reached the 
gutter on the bottom, being ignorant of the proper mode 
of carrying on the workings, they washed out all the stuff 
they could reach without opening a regular drive, and after 

TOL. I. Q 

226 Lira nr yxciobxa. 

dividing 10002. per man (12,8002.), they offered it fbr sale. 
Several parties of inspection went down without making & 
bid, being frightened at the appearance of the shaft, as well 
aa at the wetness and rottenness of the ground below. At 
length one party plucked up courage, purchasing all right 
and title to the claim and utensils for 772. They entered into 
possession at noon, ten in number, and at quitting time 
the same day (Saturday) divided 200/. per man (20002.). 
Charmed with their luck, they continued working in spells 
night and day until the following Monday, when they de- 
clared another dividend of 8002. per man (80002.-10,0002. in 
all), when they sold out to go on the spree for a week, then 
to regain possession* 

The succeeding party, whose purchase-money I could not 
ascertain, were regular-bred miners, who went about their 
business with their eyes open, and their wits at full cock. 
They spent the first four days of their term in opening two 
regular drives, one at the point where the gutter entered the 
shaft, the other where it made its exit. It was during their 
occupation that I descended, but if I were offered 10,0002. 
for twenty-four hours 9 work at the bottom, I would have 
politely declined the employment, for what from the felling 
dirt plashing in the water around me, the cracking and 
straining of the bent slabs, and the thin line of light to be dis- 
covered at the top, I thought I was certain to defraud the 
undertaker; and when I came] above ground I felt like a 
person who was released from a coffin which had been pre- 
maturely nailed down. Not so, however, the temporary pro- 
prietors, who, before the remaining three days had elapsed, 
took out an amount of gold winch divided 12002. per man to 
a party of twelve men (14,4002.). The other party then re- 
entered, and after digging out 9002. per man (90002.) in a 
week, principally by day-work, they sold out to the well-known 


storekeeper Mi?. N— ■* — n for 10QZ., who put in a gang of 
men. to work it m shares. After a fortnight's irregular work 
they divided 5001. per man (5000?.), when, one of them, an old 
hand, undermined the props on a Saturday night, and before • 
Monday morning the whole workings fefl in. This fellow 
then marked out a claim on the surface of the rain, and 
went down straight as an arrow on the old gutter, haying 
engaged a hired party. The first tobful (four bucket* 
Ms) they raised turned out forty pounds' weight of coarse 
gold, and two others yielding ten pounds eash (2880Z.) ; 
after which he took gold amounting in the aggregate to 
4000?. odd, which fixes " the tottle of the whole," as poor Joe 
Hume would say, at the prodigious and unprecedented 
figure of 55,200/., taken out of an area of twenty-four feet 
square— an amount unequalled in the annals of gold-digging, 
and which may never he again paralleled. 

I went down two other of the "shops," one called the 
" Dalgleish," the other the " Waldridge Claim," both, I be- 
lieve, fully equal to the ** Blacksmith's ;" but although I took 
memoranda concerning their wonderful yields, and also of 
all the other claims in that renowned line, I conceive it 
would be tiresome to set forth details so similar in character 
to those already described. This much, however, I learned 
at a subsequent date, that an engine-party got a lease from 
the local court of five acres, comprising the land in which 
those claims originally stood, and realised a large fortune 
from washing up the residue. 

After exploring the Canadian and Prince Begent'B Gullies, 
Golden Point, and the contiguous diggings, I visited the 
Gravel-pits, another renowned lead, and peculiarly re- 
markable from this anomalous fact, that instead of issuing 
from any range, or being traceable to any quartz reef, it 
took its rise on a flat, welling up in a manner somewhat 




similar to a spring of water. This is a lead from its unique 
peculiarity well worthy of the closest scientific examination, 
for I am deeply impressed with the conviction, if a shaft 
< were sunk down at the spot where the lead makes its first 
appearance, and followed down ad imo fundi, that some 
curious secrets of nature would be revealed. At the time 
of my visit to the Gravel-pits I had another prodigious 
proof of the incalculable richness of the district in a tub of 
dirt which I saw washed out, yielding fifty-seven pounds of 
gold (2736Z.), taken from a piece of waste ground, as it was 
called, being a narrow strip running between two claims, 
thus — 



leaving scarcely enough of room for the shaft. But this 
was only the first stuff bucketed up from the gutter, which 
must have yielded a very large aggregate. Not, however, 
having been finished during my stay, I am unable to give the 
amount. The great Bed Hill lead is also in this neighbour- 
hood, affording still another instance of the untold auriferous 
wealth of Ballarat. The sinkings on both are of an average 
depth of a hundred and forty feet, and at the time of my 
visit I was shown a claim from which close upon 20,000/. 
was taken. I omitted mentioning that M — d — n's party of 
twelve in the Gravel-pits divided from one claim 3000Z. each 

The evening of the day on which I finished my inspection 
in this district of the Ballarat diggings was the one that 
brought my friends' labours in their claim to a finish, so, 


when I returned, I found them all engaged in making pre- 
parations for the morrow's flitting. They were great fa- 
vourites, and as their intention got bruited about, hosts of 
kind volunteers crowded round our fire after supper-time, 
each individual demanding to carry some portion of the 
baggage. As their numbers increased, our fireside circle 
had to be enlarged, and huge logs were piled on until the 
fire assumed such a magnitude as to attract the notice 
of the officials at the camp, who sent down a file of police 
to inquire the cause ; but the moment they were discovered 
the whirlwind cry of " Joe !" arose, and they were soon in 
the middle of a jeering crowd, who fortunately, this time, 
were in no bad humour. 

An untravelled denizen of this upper world would con- 
clude that, according to the narrow, conventional, exclusive 
usages of society in this hemisphere, my friends were the 
real hosts of the evening, and that all the refreshments came 
from their stock ; but no such thing. The visitors were the 
entertainers, and such was the strife of competitive hospi- 
tality, that drink was handed about in buckets, and I saw 
" one big shout" of aerated stuff called champagne disgorged 
into a puddling-tub, so that we came next door to the 
Boman fashion of mixing up gold-dust instead of precious 
stones in our potations. We had a jolly evening, enlivened 
by anecdote and adventure as well as song ; and although 
the greater proportion of the melodies were of a coarse and 
broadly comic character, there were some exquisite raor- 
ceaux rendered with a sweetness of voice and a refinement 
of taste that would have extracted charmed plaudits from 
the most critical circle, proving that the rough spattered 
shirt of the digger is often worn by men of cultivated minds 
and polite attainments. I never in all my life heard the 
plaintive ballad of " Oft in the stilly night" warbled in such 

280 xzfb nr tictcoha. 

exquisite strains, as if every remembrance suggested in the 
sweet song arose in the singer's memory and affected his 
sensibility ; nor was I ever more agreeably astonished than 
in listening to a duet from " La Somnambula" issuing km 
eataract of melody from a pair of hirsute fastnesses, which, 
like great tropical jungles, seemed impervious either to in- 
gress or egress from the tangled mass of animal vegetation 
they presented. The effect, too, was most pleasingly 
heightened by an admirable player on the cornet-a-pistcav 
who appeared to be enjoying himself at a distance, contri- 
buting from afar his rich candied harmony, " mellowed" inte 
thrilling nervousness as it " swept 1 ' aver the " water" -holes 
in its transit. In plain, unexaggerated truth, the tout-en- 
semble was fine — I am even warranted in using the term 
glorious. The sloping sides of the gully and the distant fiabs 
lit up with their thousands of open-air fires, round which 
the dark groups were sharply defined by the bright glare of 
flame from the roaring logs, presented a scene of gipsy life 
never approached in the greatest aggregations of that 
nomadic tribe. The canine contingent, toot, did their duty 
in seasoning the romance of the evening, sometimes in 
mournful solos, and ever and anon in concerted howls, which 
commanded breathless attention from their overpowering 
fulness. But the only bane, the sole drawback to the 
thorough enjoyment of the original symposiac, was the 
entree of that being without whom the world would be no 
better than a howling wilderness, yet who sometimes mars 
the heaven she makes by deeds that would coruscate with 
infamy in the deepest darkness. Two women, celebrated 
even amongst the most degraded of their class, intruded 
themselves without any invitation, like a pair of harpies 
to pick up prey, one called the Princess, the other Mary 
Anne. ^Fortunately ijb was late when they came, for, had 

warxs or irao®. 2S1 

it been earlier, the company would have been dispersed 
ere it could be said to have met, from the disgusting de- 
meanour, the frightful blasphemy, and the revolting ob- 
scenity of these incarnations of fiendism. I shall not at- 
tempt any description of them, further than that they quickly 
broke up the party, but not without securing a brace of un- 
fortunate victims, incapacitated from excess. 

I will finish this chapter at right angles with its previous 
contents, by stating that the extreme baldness of the ranges 
about "Rallarat is to be accounted for, .first, by the quantity 
of timber required for slabbing, and, again, from the dis- 
graceful waste in qpen-air fires. In it* earlier days* before 
chimneys were attached to the tents, whole treea were felled 
and ignited* if only to fry some chops or boil a pot of tea, 
and, asa necessary consequence, the adjacent country became 
completely denuded. Latterly, however, American stoves 
have cane into use, and economy lias become inevitable, as 
the firewood must be dhopped small to be rendered fit for 
use, and a stove, once heated, keeps the tent at a warm tem- 
perature even in winter evenings. 



Little Bendigo — The Women there — Juvenile Fossickers — Adventure with 
them — The Eureka — Kangaroo Hunt over Digging-holes — Supper Fare 
in Mr. B r's Store — Dialogues between the Customers — Tea verms 
Coffee — Two Prospectors from Mount Korong — Their Account of the 
Locality — The Field for Monster Nuggets — Try the Tailings — Describe 
Puddling and Cradling — Demonstrate the Necessity of using Quicksilver 
and Circular-bottomed Cradles— Sporting Excursion— The different Sorts 
of Game — A real Kangaroo Hunt— Their Saltatory Powers — Uses of 
their Tail — The Echoes of Victoria— A Scene of Sylvan Laughter- 
Docility of Victorian Birds and Animals— Bobbery — Creswick's Creek— 
The Style of Living in that Field— Double Uses of Double Guns— Sound 
your Accordions — Return to Ballarat — Scene on Bakery Hill — Public 
Meeting — Studied Oratory not popular amongst Diggers — The Effect of 
honest spontaneous Earnestness — Letter from Town — Obliged to return 
and postpone my Diggings Tour. 

As my friends broke the week in their removal, they made 
it the pretext for knocking off all work till the following 
one, in order to show me all the contiguous lions. W— 1 — n 
started for Melbourne the morning after, and I, accompanied 
by the remainder of the crowd — save one, left as a locum 
tenens — started on a tour of inspection. "We first visited 
Little Bendigo, so called from its richness, not in great leads, 
but in the wide-spread number of nice little gutters ema- 
nating from diminutive quartz reefs in the locality. The 
sinking was of a moderate depth, and not difficult, and al- 
though no overtopping piles were secured there, a great 
number of decent fortunes were accumulated. It had quite 
a deserted, abandoned appearance at that time, showing 


scarcely one windlass to three hundred holes, but it was the 
head-quarters of the fossickers, who might be mistaken for 
real diggers, from the swaggering airs they assumed when 
spending their money. There, for the first time, I saw 
fossickers of the female sex at work, and these, too, of the 
diminutive degree both as to age and size ; and here I must 
do the women the justice of remarking that their industry 
was accompanied with a decency of garb and demeanour 
which elicited respect, and went to prove that becoming em- 
ployment engenders respectability of feeling and healthy 
appetites, as contradistinguished from the depravity and 
demoralisation which we have the Divifle warrant for assert- 
ing has its source in idleness, and its type in the class men- 
tioned in the previous chapter. I was much amused in 
overlooking the precocious operation of a party of Lilliputian 
fossickers, who worked with all the sang-froid of full, legal 
maturity, though the two eldest had scarcely reached their 
teens. Every one of the lot had his full-grown match-box, 
and every one that I looked into had its store of gold. I 
ventured on a little joke, by demanding their licenses with 
as gruff a look as I could assume, but the juveniles were no- 
wise disconcerted; so far from it, indeed, that one of the 
little urchins screamed out " Joe !" in an ear-piercing octave, 
which attracted a neighbouring bevy of juveniles, who echoed 
the cry in the sharpest of tones. When I undeceived them, 
they seemed half inclined to resent it as an insult on their 
puny dignity, and one of the leaders gave me the gratuitous 
advice " not to try on no more of my games if I wanted to 
keep my skin whole," which I acknowledged with a Gulliver- 
like obeisance, and moved on. It might have been an illu- 
sion, but for a considerable distance I thought I saw and 
heard heavy pebbles falling like hailstones in the water-holes 
near me. I could not, however, see any cloud in the sky, and 

534 un or Victoria. 

my sharpest turn could not csteh sight of a Uttia 

in m upright position, but the shower continued until 1 

crossed the gully. 

The few stores that remained in Little Bendigo were alto- 
gether supported by the fosackers, who relished the good 
things procurable with as keen a zest as their betters* I 
called into one, Messrs. T— -y and W — 1 — re's, to obtain 
some refreshments, and found it quite as well assorted and fur- 
nished as any in Ballarat proper. I was highly edified white 
there at the conduct of three under-Bized fossicking coons, 
who discussed the nature of " their shout" with the gravity 
of veteran topers, though the victim* had to rise on his toes 
before he could bring his mouth cm a level with the counter 
to announce it ; and when the glasses with the liquor wese 
shoved to the edge not a head could be seen from behind as 
the tiny brown hands clasped them. 

From Little Bendigo we descended the low range to the 
Eureka, a locality standing in the front rank of second-daes 
celebrity as a digging, and foremost of aU in historical fame 
as the site of the rebel stockade, which secured its aim whole 
it succumbed to the sovereign authority. These diggings 
are intersected by the rivulet Yarrowee, and are fed with 
gold from the Little Bendigo source above it. like their 
aurife ro u s parent, they were first famed for the number of its 
Httle gutters, which, however, were soon found to converge 
to a focus, and at length were discovered to have united in 
one great whole, known as "the great Eureka lead," wtteh 
furnished forth many large fortunes. The depth of the sink- 
ing varied very much, ranging from forty-five feet to one 
hundred and seventy feet, and at the time of my visit I could 
not see an idle windlass, as the fiat was studded with -a dense 

* Victim in shouting is the person left in in hiding the horse for a 
TOtmd of drink. 


population of at least eight thousand souls. While watching 
the washing out of some very rieh stuff, my attention was 
arrested by a distant u p roa r , at first mistaken for a u ftceme 
htmV* but the absence of * Joe F" soon proved it ir as a com- 
motion of another hand. Xrery hole was soon vacated, every 
dog let loose, and such a hebw^dcslter^ pell-mell, hetero- 
geneous hunt ensued as I never saw the like o£ I ran as 
well as my neighbours, and as the cmase was coming at right 
angles to my line, I soon saw it was a large old man* 
kangaroo, the first I ever caught sight of in a wild state. 
Considering the broken nature of the ground, the speed it 
attained was very great, and some of its springs were beyond 
any limit I had ever previously formed of mnsenlar projec- 
tion. I do not believe, under any circumstances, it would 
have escaped the mixed and multitudinous pack by which it 
was pursued, bat on even ground the chase would have bean 
a long and exciting one. As it was, there was no fair play ; 
not only was it followed by a mongrel pease of dogs and 
men from behind, but its path was gradually narrowed by 
lateral enemies, while even in front fresh foes were await- 
ing its advance, big dogs jumping at its throat, and big 
men aiming shovel strokes at its head. At last the poor 
animal, in a misjudged jump, landed in a water-hole, from 
which it could not leap, and in this helpless state the harm- 
less, meek-looking brute had its brains mercilessly beat out 
by compassionlesB men. It was curiosity, not pleasure, that 
caused me to join in the pursuit, but the disgust with whkl 
I witnessed the dosing scene derived a degree of gratifies** 
tion from seeing a lot of the savage, unsightly dogs maimed 
and wounded by blows intended lor the poor kangaroo. 
My Mends and I had quarters for the night by invitation 

* Old man kangaroo is the patriarch of his flock, who, haying escaped 
fanxt lor yeas, attaaas a great size. 


from Mr. B r , who managed a branch store there for hi» 

firm, Messrs. B r and D— y. His domicile behind 

the scenes was by far the most comfortable I had yet seen in 
the digging and his hospitality was warm and genuine. We 
had a plentiful and most excellent supper, with the beef and 
mutton of Victoria, the bread of South Australia, the butter 
of ould Erin, the coffee of Ceylon, the sugar of Mauritius, 
the tea of China, while the ham of York, the marmalade of 
Scotland, the sardine of France, the condiments of India, 
were only waiting for a beckon to jump down our throats 
from the surrounding shelves. I said nothing of milk, 
"'cause why," we had none, but we managed to find a sub- 
stitute in that sweet cream of the valley which never turns 
sour from keeping, but gathers fresh attractions and more 
ardent admirers as it ripens in years. We were within ear- 
shot, behind the screen, of many amusing dialogues between 
the various customers who came to buy tobacco or wet their 
whistles. Ladies, too, who came short distances to do their 
evening shopping, were not above "taking a dram" from 
the gallant swains present. One in particular even went the 
length of reciprocating the compliment, but I found it was 
an emanation of policy, as she kept a refreshment, or board- 
and-lodging tent, and was anxious to propitiate custom. A 
countryman of her own, not to be outdone in hospitality, 
proposed " The health of Molly Connor " with all the 
honours, appending the suggestion that it would be all the 
better " if there was a little more stringth in her tay, but 
not quite so much in her butther." Molly acknowledged the 
" civility " in becoming terms, after wiping the corners of her 
mouth with an apron resembling Jeremy Diddler's kerchief, 
but in reference to the insinuation of Dennis Brady, she re- 
marked, " She was noways behoulden to him or his, for the 
divil's mother wouldn't plaze him. Tay nor coffee was no 


good if the spoon didn't stand up in the middle of the cup, 
though the drop he got onct a year in Mayo was too weak to 
Tim out o' the spout." 

I remarked before the great difference of taste and habit 
between the Californian and Victorian digger in the con- 
sumption of tea and coffee. The former rarely ever used tea, 
while coffee is only used in the same exceptional way by the 
latter. I cannot account for the fact otherwise than by re- 
ferring it to the greater ease and readiness with which tea is 
prepared, unless it be that it is more palatable when cool 
than coffee. As to their relative nutritious or sustentive 
properties, I know by stern experience that coffee is infinitely 
preferable. Often in crossing the prairie to the Bocky 
Mountains, when, after a day's toilsome journey, the men 
were scarcely able to take the harness off the animals, a cup 
of fresh-ground fragrant coffee would set them up again in 
strength and spirit, while I found that tea, on the few oc- 
casions we were necessitated to use it, did not produce any 
such desirable effects. The Californian digger had to roast, 
grind, and boil his own coffee, but the Victorian, who is so 
surrounded with women, would be saved all that bother ; so 
that I hope his preference, after all, is rather to be attributed 
to taste than placed to the account of laziness. 

During the evening two respectable and highly intelligent 
men, who had returned from a northern prospecting tour, 
came in, and being friends of Mr. B — 1 — rs, he took them 
into the sanctum, where I had a long and instructive chat 
with them. They had been to Mount Korong, Gower, 
and M'Intyre's diggings, as they were called, all to the 
north of the discovered gold parallel, and very promising in 
Borne respects, though not over-crowded, from this distin- 
guishing peculiarity that their gold did not run in leads 
or gutters, nor was it diffused through the soil, being 


altogether reslzicted to widelyecattered but rich packets of 
comae gold and immense nuggets of pure metal; so that a 
lucky few got suddenly enriched, while the oi polloi could 
sot clear expenses, which in that quarter were enormously 
augmented by the remoteness of the district and the im- 
practicability of the mads. As a general remark, it holds 
good in the Victorian gold-fields, that the great nuggety 
fields are not payable to the multitude, the gold in those 
legions being extremely patchy. Thus parties, favoured by 
chance, who happen to hit upon 100QI., 3O80L, or 80Q02. 
nuggets, can afford to pick and delve on for months and 
months until they come to another solitary chink, "all 
alone in its glory," while the poor fellows who come with a 
rolled blanket over their shoulders, containing their entire 
necessaries, are soon obliged to retreat to the more mode* 
irately but more uniformly endowed fields, where a liveli- 
hood can be secured, though a sudden fortune may not be 
attainable. The returned prospectors carried down with them 
several splendid nuggets, the finest of which were got under 
the following extraordinary cfrcumstancss. An overland 
party from Adelaide to Bendigo got so far as the neighbour- 
hood of Mount Korong, but as it was a family caravan, 
heavily laden, they were unable to proceed from the wet and 
rotten state of the ground withott stopping to recruit. 
They occupied their idle time in profitless p rospe c t i ng, until 
one day, when roaming in search of their truant bullocks, 
they came upon a conical, sparsely-wooded mil in the neigh- 
bourhood of the mount, the surface of which was literally 
strewed with big nuggets. It is supposed they were oc- 
cupied some days in gathering their golden harvest, but the 
secret came out in a drinking jollification, and a rash of all 
the men, women, and children in the neighbourhood (not 
over two hundred and fifty, all told), including the two 


narrators, hurried to this locality, only a few miles distant,* 
wham they quickly cleared off the auriferous nuggets and 
pebbles, some absolutely picking up as many as they could 
comfortably carry, and one small child was seen toddling back 
with a 15 li. chunk iu hia arms. The men in question got 
seventeen pieces in all, one as large as 3flk, the smallest 
over 9 os., and all the others about equally intermediate. 
From this most extraordinary surface indication the small 
settlement moved bodily to the immediate neighbourhood* in 
the full conviction of digging out individual fortunes before 
the news would spread downwards ; but what was, if possible, 
still mere extraordinary than the richness of the surface, 
there was not a speck to be found below. Holes were sunk 
in every nook and corner, and to every depth, but all with 
the like result— <b«Z&i bona was the return. The Adelaide 
party, however, seemed perfectly contented with what they 
got; for, instead of prosecuting their journey to Bendigo, 
they returned heme, never, of course, admitting the full 
extent of their gams, lest it might excite the cupidity of 
evil-disposed people. One of oar informants, however, was 
favoured with a sight of a nugget which he said was certainly 
between 701b. and 1001b. weight Even up to the present 
day these diggings are only scantily peopled, although scarce a 
month passes that some monster nugget does not come down 
from thence, the last and biggest ever seen in the world,* 
1743 oz., having been brought to light in the latter end of 
last year. 

It was arranged, before retiring for the night, that the 
next day was to be devoted to a sporting excursion in the 
Warrenheep neighbourhood, some five or six miles distant— 

* This nugget of solid gold, two feet four inches in length by ten inches 
at its widest part, weighs, within a few pennyweights, 150 lb; ; 70002, was 
offered for it. It was found alone on a bed of sand at thirteen feet sinking. 


a squatter station, in a rich, well- watered, undulating country. 
I was promised some genuine kangaroo hunting, kangaroo 
rat-coursing, wild-cat worrying, black swan rifle practice, and. 
any quantity of wild-duck shooting, together with an under- 
taking, if we consented to camp out, of a sufficiency of 
opossum shooting. The following morning, while breakfast 
was preparing, and a basket of prog in the course of packing, 
I took a dish to experiment on the Eureka tailings, and 
I found them even more auriferous than those already sub- 
jected to trial. I showed the residuum at the bottom of my 
basin reproachfully to the party to whom they belonged, but 
their reply was a contemptuous laugh, as much as to say, 
" Broken meat for the poor," "Dirty butter for servants." 
I sat watching their puddling and cradling operations until 
I was cooey'd* for from the store to start, and in the course 
of my observations could clearly see that the escape of gold 
was caused by a combination of ignorance and negligence in 
the cradling process; for in tub puddling in the most 
awkward management there is not the same opportunity for 
loss. It is managed thus: about four buckets of washing 
dirt are thrown into a tub about the size of an ordinary 
washing-tub, some water is then thrown in, and the whole is 
worked, first into mortar, then into puddle, by tossing, and 
turning, and twisting it with a shovel, the gold of course 
subsiding to the bottom as the amalgam gets into a state of 
liquidity. After working it awhile in this fashion the top 
puddle is drained off, carrying away a considerable portion of 
valueless mud ; another water is then added, and the same 
operation repeated, and then a third, after which the stuff at 
the bottom of the tub is washed in dishfuls through the 
cradle, of which I will give a rude section to facilitate my 

* Cooey is a peculiar Australian call, shouted in shrill falsetto, as it is 
pronounced. It is wonderfully penetrating. 


A man sits or stands at the cradle with a tub of water 
beside him, holding the handle of the cradle in one hand and 
& ladle for dipping water in the other. 

Another man stands at the tub, throwing on an occasional 
shovelful from it on No. 3 (a perforated iron sheet), his com- 
rade rocking all the time, and pouring on water, which carries 
the stuff on the apron No. 2, at the end of which there is a 
bar No. 4, about two inches high, intended to intercept some 
of the gold, which, from its greater gravity, runs down close 
on the apron, the remainder falling over on No. 3, the bottom 
of the cradle, on which there are two other bars, marked 
" 4," also intended to intercept the gold, and all tile stuff 
that gets over the last or lower bar goes off in the tailings 
No. 5, the pivots or rim on which the cradle is rocked being 
represented by the marks Nos. 6. The principle of the 
cradle is good and simple, but all depends on the angle at 
which it is worked, and in keeping the bars clean from 
obstruction. If it is worked at such a slant as is represented 
above, the water will run at such a rapid rate as to carry 
away most of the fine gold, and if the bars are not everlast- 
ingly looked after, the black and fine sand forms a hard cake, 

TOL. I. B 


as shown by the dotted lines from the points at Mbs. 4, which 
renders the operation of the ban completely worthless, as all 
obstruction is obliterated and the gold ram off with the dirt. 
These were the causes of the richness of the tailings at the 
time of my first visit to Ballarat ; and although much greater 
care is observed at the present day, the loss from faulty 
cradling is still excessive, but not appreciated* Unless the 
bars, as I said, are kept clean, they are good for nothing, and 
no human attention, nor I think ingenuity, can keep them in 
a constant state of cleanliness and freedom without the 
agency of quicksilver. If each bar is filled two-thirds high 
with quicksilver it will roll from side to side in the rocking, 
and not only effectually prevent the settlement of fine black 
sand, but catch all the fine gold with which it would come in 
contact ; but in order to have it work well, I am of opinion 
that the bottom of the cradle should be circular instead of 
flat, and the bars made to follow the curve up the sides as 
high as the water would surge. Cradles made in this way 
never have heaps accumulating at the side, as in the flat- 
bottomed fashion. I used the circular ones in California 
with great success, even in the absence of quicksilver, which 
was not obtainable at the early period of my visit; and, 
curious enough, though most reflecting men admit its supe- 
riority, I am safe in saying there is not a single one in use in 
all the diggings of Victoria. 

This cradle digression is a long one, but I will not offer 
any apology, as I know that the reader will be more inter* 
ested in seeking a thorough understanding of the process of 
gold-washing than in following my description of the field- 
sports which follow. We mustered a party of seven, all 
armed, attended by a sutler, some fine kangaroo dogs and 
sharp terriers, passing from the time of our start through a 
magnificent country, rich in soil and fine timber, gently undo- 
lating and excellently watered. The day was glorious, and 


the very air enjoyable. We commenced our sport— don't 
smile — by smoking out some of those prettily-spotted wild 
cats which overabound in the Australian bush, generally 
nestling and breeding in the hollow hearts of decayed trees, 
and then we had a number of short but sharp courses after 
the kangaroo rat, which always seemed to break also from 
decayed timber, running with a Telocity perfectly astonish- 
ing for so small an animal.* We beat closely about in 
some ffcvourite haunts throughout the morning without 
being able to sight a kangaroo, and then we took a spell at 
swan and wild-duck shooting on a very large lake, or sheet 
of water, along the margin of which we had to wade in reeds 
and water, sometimes hip deep, to steal on the game, which 
were provokingly shy, and while engaged in this branch of 
the amusement, I saw numbers of snakes — all of which are 
deadly — gliding through the rushes, and every other second 
I was obliged to sever the attachments of affectionate 
leeches, which seemed to have selected me — as it is said 
mosquitoes do also — for my fresh blood, for none of my 
companions complained of the plague. The next act of the 
drama was not the least agreeable ; opening the basket, and 
testing the bouquet of Martel's beverage, then carefully un- 
folding the wrappings of a tongue, as if it were a priceless 
mummy, or ripping open sardine or lobster tins, the staff of 
life being broken in the primitive style, with which all good 
Christians are familiar. Who would have thought, thirty 
years ago, that Martel's brandy would commingle with the 
volcanic filterings of Warrenheep, or that the Bprats of the 
Loire would be masticated one hundred miles up in the wild 
bush of Victoria, all paid for in coin from nature's own mint 
in the immediate neighbourhood. 

* The kangaroo rat is about the size of a small rabbit, and is said to 
jump like the kangaroo, though to my apprehension it ran. 



244 life nr yictobia. 

After dinner we went away straight on end for a few 
miles to a place where our leader staked his reputation on a 
find, and, to do him justice, the accuracy of his intelligence 
was quickly ratified, for we sprang five kangaroos in a cluster. 
I ran, as directed, to a point near which they were heading, 
and some time before I could see them I heard the quick 
thump, thump, thump, following their bounds. One came 
almost straight towards me, approaching within a jump before 
he discovered me, when he made a bound on a clear bit 
of ground, that left me time to take off my hat and scratch 
my head in admiration before it came to a conclusion. I 
could have shot, or at all events crippled him, but I left 
him to the .dogs, who were closing him, until he came to a 
sharp slant, on the side of a sloping ravine, adown which 
his jumps were too long by half for civilised belief. I never 
saw or imagined anything like them, nor shall I give the 
measurements, because I never took them, knowing full well 
that my veracity would be impugned, and my figures re- 
commended to the marines. I will only, therefore, say to 
the disappointed sceptics, that they had better come out, in 
thirty days and upwards, by the Great Eastern, to measure 
kangaroo jumps with their own boxes and tapes. We killed 
two fine ones, but we contented ourselves with their tails, 
whose measurements I also refer to the sceptics, from their 
unbelievable size. It is an opinion maintained stoutly by 
some, and discredited by many, that the kangaroo is aided in 
his spring by the muscular power of his immense tail, which, 
especially near the root, is of great size and strength, and 
the former suspicion receives some complexion from its worn 
appearance at the nether end. However, from closely exa- 
mining the tracks of the kangaroo which crossed the gully 
on ground where the impression was full and distinct, I 
incline to think, from the absence of any appearance of co- 



operation on the part of that member, that the dorsal ap- 
pendage is only used for preserving the balance of the 
animal in that upright posture, which, in a state of quiet, it 
is so fond of assuming. 

The day was well advanced when we turned homewards, and 
there was more feathered life in the forest than I could have 
imagined from the descriptions I read of it ; but there was 
neither song, nor chirrup, nor twitter. The proudly-crested 
cockatoo and the highly-plumaged parrot stood moodily on 
their perches ; the fidgety magpie, as he ducked briskly and 
pecked his tail, seemed to say, " I would speak if I dare," 
while the other smaller varieties flitted noiselessly about, as 
if they were tongue-tied ; an odd opossum yawned carefully 
on waking up for the evening's business, and a cursed snake 
might be seen " once and away" stealthily peeping from his 
slimy hole, but otherwise the reign of silence was all-per- 
vading, save when interrupted by our own conversation. At 
length, in a " visitation of compunctiousness" for our tired- 
down sutler — nothing else, I assure you — we sat by a brook- 
side to make an effort at draining the only remaining 
brandy-bottle in his basket, and as a bit of pastime it was 
proposed to discharge our guns at hat practice — that is, 
throwing up our hats in turn to be shot at. I was, from my 
earliest days, above the average at shooting on the wing, and 
I made a perfect colander of the one I fired at, to the infinite 
merriment of the party, who laughed outright as the pro- 
prietor picked it up, provoking what appeared to me a most 
faithful echo. When he in his turn blazed away at mine, his 
palpable failure gave rise to another shout of laughter, which 
was echoed as before ; and, on my remarking the fine, natural 
response, there was a general roar from all my companions, 
and the echoes roared and the trees shook their sides in 
perfect ecstasies of silent laughter, and when we seemed 


about to stop, another led off in a convulsive fit threatening 
suffocation, until the whole bush seemed one broad guffaw, 
Echo, to my utter amazement, rather leading than following 
the gleeful uproar. Little did I imagine that my simplicity 
was the cause of all this boisterous merriment, or that the 
echo was no other than the " laughing jackass," whose con- 
vivial hour approaches with the twilight, when he enjoys a 
hearty laugh, I suppose, at the stupidity and slowness of his 
feathered neighbours. It is really most amusing as well as 
strange to hear them laugh, it so nearly resembles that of 
the human being, so natural and so rollicking, comprising 
every variety of tone, shrill and mellow, the short cachinna- 
tion, haw! haw! haw! or the long, tear-compelling fit, 
hoo! hoo! hoo! oh! o-o-hoo-oo-oo ! but nothing of bitter 
grinning, nothing of the sardonic sample, all real, heart- 
brewed stuff. 

The jackass is a brown-plumaged, owl-looking bird, about 
the size, too, of an ordinary owl. It is dull and stupid when 
at rest, but a lively, arch bird, susceptible of any variety of 
instruction. It can be made to talk well, and whistle, too. 
It is averse to rats, and I have seen one trained to keep ill- 
favoured strangers at a distance. In fact, it is a general 
remark concerning the beasts and birds of Australia, that 
they are easily domesticated, and most readily comprehend 
any sort of teaching. I have myself seen parrots, cockatoos, 
jackasses, and magpies, talking and whistling in a way I 
never heard birds do before. The magpie, especially, is a 
bird it would be difficult to match in any other country. 
When once taught a few words, he very soon, of his own 
accord, enlarges his vocabulary to a limit admitting almost 
of conversation, pronouncing, not uttering, his words, and 
where— which is rarely the case — he is taught in the natural 
voice, and not in that affected falsetto in which most people 


address birds and children, lie acquires the natural tone, and 
speaks accordingly, " saying papa, like a man." In whistling, 
also, they axe exceedingly quick and clever, learn them one 
tune, and they will soon pick up "by ear" any other tune 
that a shopman or a constant customer may be in the habit 
of whistling, rendering it, if properly taught in the first 
instance, in a full, continuous tone. The emu can be made 
a perfect pet of, going about the place like a favourite dog, 
taking bread out of your hand, or off your hat, or from a 
window. Like the ostrich, they have great digestive powers. 
I saw one that swallowed hard wood shavings as fast as the 
carpenter made them, and would peck all the nails and 
screws he could reach. It is a harmless bird, but although 
it can be made as familiar as possible, it never seems to form 
attachment to those who are most kind to it. " The native 
companion," again, a monstrously exaggerated crane, can be 
taught as its owner pleases. It goes about stalking in its 
" seven-leagued strides" amongst the farm*yard fowl, it will 
follow like a dog when trained, and will spread out its wings 
and aid its master in driving a flock of fowl or sheep through 
a gateway. The kangaroo, when taken young, is a most 
imitative animal, and in fact becomes too much of a pet. A 
friend of mine, a quartz reefer, Mr. H— m— n, of Bendigo, 
who kept a lot of large kangaroo dogs, had one that played 
with the dogs, sat on end at the tent-fire like a Christian, 
with the cat in his arms, watched wistfully during meal- 
times for an occasional piece, and, if not well watched in 
torn, would help himself very unceremoniously to any 
morsel within reach. He had a peculiar penchant for the 
bed, and if my friend omitted securing the tent-door when 
going to work, he was sure to find him tightly wrapped up 
in the blankets when he returned. The kangaroo-rat, also, 
was capable of learning trickery or sleight-o'-hand. But I 


must bait in my enumeration, else I shall never get to the 
end of my book. 

We reached Mr. B— 1 — r's in good time for supper, and 
Mr. T — b — e and I arranged to start for Creswick Greek 
Diggings in the morning, Mr. R — b — n returning to the 
head-quarters at Dalton's Flat to advise our movements. 
In the course of the night there was a regular rising in the 
Eureka, which at first I thought was a political emeute, but 
it turned out to be a bushranger hunt, a party of thoBe 

infernal pests having cut into Mr. T r's store at some 

distance, managing to carry off the cash-box, but as the 
night was dark, and the bush quite contiguous, the ruffians 

Early in the morning the rich notes of the wild magpie 
called us up. Let me here remark that the magpie is almost 
the only tuneful bird in the Victorian bush, according to 
my experience, and he, in the natural state, only whistles in 
the early morning. The distance to Creswick from Ballarat 
is between twelve and fourteen miles, through a country not 
peculiarly interesting. Our road lay through a region called 
the Bald Hills, being naturally free of timber. They may 
be said to be curious in their generation, not constituting a 
range in any part, all being isolated from each other like so 
many distinct gigantic tumuli. Although of considerable 
elevation, they in no part rise above the good vegetating 
limit, and being composed of good surface soil, they have 
been since all cultivated to the summits. 

At Creswick's Creek I found a very considerable popula- 
tion, and a much greater breadth of ground turned over than 
I anticipated ; but there were no large finds, the deposit 
being excessively patchy, and even where pockets were found 
they never proved of any great dimensions. From a black 
clay indication, corresponding with that in the rich gullies at 

cbeswick's cheek. 249 

Ballarat, there was a strong prevailing creed that a great 
lead would be discovered, and a vast amount of money, 
time, and labour was expended in following a bling gutter 
called the " Black Lead," which never turned out of much 
account. There were, in their own phraseology, a good 
few of the Yankee tribe " sucked in" by that illusion, for 
at the Eureka and Creswick I first saw my calculating 
cousins mustering in anything like numbers. The sinking 
at Creswick on the whole was very hard and difficult, and 
coupling this with the smallness of the remuneration, as 
well as its uncertainty, I was rather surprised to find so 
large a resident digging population at so short a distance 
from the great field of Ballarat. I believe, however, they 
were all awaiting some great and sudden development of 
hidden wealth. Here, again, the cradle error was at full 
work, and the fossickerB in active employment. I remarked, 
also, a few of foreign extraction — a small party of Chinese 
— who were moving about unconsciously in a thick atmo- 
sphere of curses and denunciations. Mr. Esmond, said to 
have been the original discoverer of gold in Victoria,* was 
working at Creswick. Soon after my visit he brought his 
claim for reward under the notice of the Gold Commission, 
and got, if I remember right, a compensation of 5002., to 
which the citizens of Geelong superadded a handsome gold 
cup. Clunes is only four miles from Creswick, and I would 
have gone there, but I was informed there was little doing ; 

* Mr. Campbell was in reality the original discoverer of gold in Victoria, 
haying found it in Forest Creek months, if not a year, before Mr. Esmond. 
He found it when haying some sheep washed in that stream, but he kept 
the discovery a profound secret, lest the squatting run belonging to hit 
cousin, Mr. Cameron, might be claimed or cut up by the Government 
When it became generally known that gold abounded in the colony, he pub- 
lished his secret, and claimed the reward, but it was objected that his con- 
duct in withholding the information disentitled him to claim, and I think 



I therefore appropriated the latter part of the day to my 
usttal experiments on the tailings, and -with the same result, 
the returns from them bearing about the same average to the 
yields of the field as in my trials at Ballarat. 

We got mid-day refreshment easily enough, but as evening 
closed in we made anxious inquiries about a party with whom 
T— b — e was acquainted, with the view of getting quarters 
for the night, as there were no hotels there. We wandered 
about from gully to gully without being able to get any 
tidings, and we finally concluded to put on a bold face and 
ask permission of a storekeeper to allow us a night's rest 
amongst his bales and bags, when my friend T — b— e got a 
smack between the shoulders from an open palm that made 
his breath go into the wrong passage, but before he could 
cough it right he was confronted by a jolly digger, who de- 
manded to know, in a truly affectionate manner, " What the 

b y h — H brought him to Creswick ?" A clasping of 

hands followed, and then an introduction, our new friend 

being a Mr. H 1, son of an Irish stipendiary magistrate. 

He was infinitely vexed that there was not sufficient time to 
prepare a suitable supper, but consoled us by the informa- 
tion that we should not starve, as " there were the remains 
of a jackass pie on hand, and his mate Tim was a first-chop 

hand at a spreckled b r on the coals."* So down we 

went to the tent, and Tim went to work with an evident de- 
termination of excelling himself on the occasion. The night 
was not so favourable as could be desired, a heavy rain 
having begun to fall ; we therefore cleared our table inside 
by sweeping the centre of our tent floor, and then set it 
out by the fragment of jackass-pie (the poor bird, not the 
animal, mind you), and such few rusty accessories as could 

on the coals is a thfntrish cafa spfeckled with tfufftnts, tan& 
baked hastily on the glowing embers. 

A 3UGHT OF IT. 261 

be got together in a hurry. When the chops and 
were ready, we all squatted round & la Turqne, our lights 
being fixed in the loaded barrels of a double gun, which was 
tied to the centre pole. A couple of rollicking neighbours 
joined us soon after the solids had been disposed of, when 
H ■ t , addressing Tim, appositely quoted the invalid's 
appeal to his wife, " Nancy dear, leave off the barley-water 
and give us a drink," which his mate immediately answered 
pantomimically by grasping the teapot muzzlewards, and 
swinging it contemptuously aside to make room for " the 
real strip -me-down -naked," as he playfully called the 
brandy-bottle. Believe me, good reader, we made a night 
of it. There was no escape — no room for finesse, for after 
every round, to make sure that no heel-taps remained, there 
was an invariable call from the chair of " Sound your ac- 
cordions !" which was promptly answered by a jingling of 
glasses, mouths downwards, on the breast-buttons. And so 
we went on, until the lights were extinguished by discharg- 
ing the double gun from the tent door as the small hours 
began increasing in magnitude. 

We all rested where we sat, and next morning, from the 
uncomfortableness of our beds, we were astir early, and I 
took leave of my new acquaintances as if our intimacy was 
the growth of a lifetime. On our road home we made a 
slight detour to Bakery Hill to get the Weekly Argus, as it 
was Saturday, and we reached that historical locality just in 
time for a great public meeting convened to afford an op- 
portunity of denouncing all political evils and class griev- 
ances, as well as for promulgating their ascertained reme- 
dies. There was great stir and bustle amongst the lead* 
ing agitators, and a portentous preparation of note-books 
amongst the special newspaper correspondents. The crowd 
was considerable, but without any pervading sentiment in 


opinion, that I could discover, beyond the strictly personal 
question, "the abolition of the license-tax." I saw that 
T — b__e was frequently interrogated about " his friend in 
town-garb" (your humble servant), and as he told them that 
I was somebody or other, and that my sympathies were with 
the diggers, I was "rushed" by introductions, invited to 
take a place on the platform, and finally asked to propose a 
resolution, which latter compliment I most respectfully de* 
dined. At length a bell commenced ringing in front of a 
large canvas tenement, and all the different groups com- 
mingled in one advancing crowd towards the entrance. I 
found inside an extemporised platform at the end, on to 
which I was ushered to a prominent place. The proposers 
occupied a front row, striving to look as if they were not 
aware of their being about to be asked to take part in the 
proceedings, while I could clearly see they were in com- 
munion with their memories, calling to mind the concluding 
words in pages so-and-so, and the starting word in the 
sentences on the other leaves. The seconders were in their 
proper position, got up without starch for the occasion, all 
of the " unaccustomed as I am" class. The chairman, Mr. 
H — ff — y, was voted to his post by acclamation, and Dr. 
C — rr (who afterwards became insane) "broke open the 
ball." He had evidently read up for the occasion, but studied 
harangues. Abstruse political theories and polemical re- 
finements are not the fitting elements for popular oratory ; 
his loftiest nights and his most studied cadences (none of 
them -approaching mediocrity, by-the-way) scarcely produced 
a fitful " hear." It was evident that the audience paid no at- 
tention to the contrasting illustrations between direct or in- 
direct taxation, or the grand theory of " basing representa- 
tion on population instead of property ;" even the reference 
to "unlocking the lands" elicited a languid meed of appro- 


bation ; but when a digger from the crowd asked aloud 
" "What about the b y license-tax ?" there arose a simul- 
taneous shout as if from a roaring giant, which broke the 
doctor's thread. He tried to stagger on, but after a few 
Btumbles he " declined occupying any more of their valuable 
time," and sat down, to the apparent delight of the whole 
crowd. The next speaker, and the next, and the next, and 
the next stiU, were all of a piece, and the cry of " Shut up !" 
became impartially applicable to all, until a rough, deter- 
mined, yet good-countenanced man was lifted up in front* 
He evidently did not court the prominence, but there was no 
mistaking it, he was perfectly self-possessed, his mind was 
full, and his undisciplined tongue "was all there." He 
looked steadily around with his great hand thrust into the 
breast of his open shirt, where the mud-spattered hair was as 
evident as his whiskers. I felt sure I knew what was coming, 
and his first clearly-pronounced words, " Brother diggers !" 
made the assurance doubly sure. He bade them be of good 
heart, but to be united — emphasising the word ; he advised 
them to obey the law, but denied the legality of the license- 
tax, which bore down upon the industry that made the 
country great, and went on pampering their persecutors. 
He drew a most graphic picture of the tyranny of officials' 
enormities of digger-hunting, and wound up by " swearing, 
while he would die for his Queen," he would shed the last 
drop of his blood before he would pay another license. The 
burst of enthusiasm that followed this declaration is alto- 
gether indescribable. It seemed to lift the great tent into 
mid-air, and, inoculated with the glow of feeling around me, I 
could almost imagine that I had a cloud for a footstool. The 
speaker was seized, nolo episcopari notwithstanding, and car- 
ried out in triumph to the open air, leaving the chairman to 
dissolve the meeting, vote himself thanks, and all the rest of it. 


It was then, in truth, the hon&JUk meeting commenced, and 
many a spirit-stirring speech, bearing dose upon the one 
text, was delivered extemporaneously from the head of a 
barrel or the end of a waggon. 

We did not wait for the wind-up, but reached our tent be- 
fore sun-down. And there 1 found a letter from my brother, 
just brought by R b »n from the post-office, exhorting me 
to come down direct, as Y > d had brought an action for 
the loss he sustained by the damaged state of the waterproof 
clothing he purchased previous to the auction; and, as I waa 
a most important witness, he implored me to postpone my 
digging tour for the present. I certainly came to the resolu- 
tion of doing so most reluctantly, as I foresaw what really 
did happen: the proverbial delays of the law, the pro- 
bability of getting mixed up in some other speculation while 
waiting postponement after postponement, and the inevi- 
table procrastination of the task which I had set myself to get 
through without intermission. I was even obliged to break 
faith with my friends, and compel than to work the windlass 
as they best might until W— 1-— n's return from Melbourne. 
I arranged to start next day, to reach Watson's the first 
night, Qeriong the next, and Melbourne early on the third 



Down Journey from BaDarat — Whole Country under Water — A Legion of 
Chmese— Primitive Colloquy— Watson'i— My Steeping Partners—Their 
former Pursuits— My Escape through the Window— .Dangerous Position 
outside — Comical Mode of collecting the Bed-tax — Beach Geelong — 
Scenes on the Trip to Melbourne— Crowded State of the Yarra-Yarra 
and the Wharfs — Monomania of British Exporters — Effects in the Mel- 
bourne Markets— Imports from all quarters of the Globe in the Teeth of 
adverse Advice— Professional Men inoculated with the Trading Mania — 
The Crowds of Commission Agents— How they carried on the War- 
Slight Revolution in the Aspect of Melbourne and its People during my 
Absence — Visit Professor Sands — His Theory about the Prevalence of 
Fires in Melbourne— His Notions concerning American Bouncing and 
Filibustering — Bates of Tradesmen's and Labourers' Wages. 

I started with the first note of the magpie, and, after a 
hurried breakfast on the heel of a damper and cold chop, I 
got under weigh, T — b — e accompanying me as far as Bun- 
ningyong. Passing along the foot of Canadian Golly, I met 
my young Scotch friends coming to work rather in advance of 
the usual time, being desirous, as they informed me, to work 
double tides in their first hole — anxious as well to reach the 
bottom as to limit the expenditure by economising time. 
After a fashion, the great gold-field resembles the Great 
Wen in the early morning. Canadian Gully, as we looked 
up it, was as still as Fleet-street ere the diurnal racket com- 
mences, but the first windlass scarcely lifted its arm ere the 
murmuring hum of fierce toil was heard swelling into its 


usual roar, just as the rumble of the first waggon is followed 
by tbe daily thunder of tbe City. 

It was tbe usual breakfast-time wben we reached Sellick's 
public to take our parting nobbier, colonial fashion. I did 
not make any delay, as I wished to anticipate any down- 
going party, being resolved on a forced march ; for I knew if 
I started in company I would give offence on leaving them. 
I therefore set out alone. Very heavy rains had fallen about 
and below Bunningyong (which is the Greenock of Victoria), 
submerging the whole lower country, which looked like an 
inland sea, and were it not for the broken lines of bullock 
and horses' teams struggling through it, I should really have 
been unable to select my direction. I walked many miles 
without even making a perfectly dry step, and was most fre- 
quently half-leg deep in water. As well as I could conjec- 
ture, about two-thirds of the way from Bunningyong to 
Watson's, I saw a ridge of rolling, timbered country, which 
I approached with a feeling akin to that of a tired swimmer 
nearing the beach, for I felt " kinder-like sitting down." I 
could see at a distance that there was a crowd of people 
amongst the trees — a much more comfortable prospect than 
a dual number — for although we have the assertion, on very 
high authority, that " in gangs of forty, thieves commit their 
crimes," it does not hold good in the antipodes, where, more 
after the custom of " rabbits and hares," or " even the bears," 
who " in couples agree," the bushrangers, in nine cases out 
of ten, set about their murders and depredations in pairs, 
mainly influenced, I should suppose, by the apprehension of 
pals splitting, as they term it ; for the marvellous benefit of 
co-operation has its exception in secret-keeping. " Never get 
any one to help you in keeping an important secret," or, at 
all events, keep the limit of your associates as small as 



As I got to dry land a alight effort of imagination would 
have enabled me to believe that I had waded across an arm 
of the Indian Ocean and landed in China, for I walked into 
the midst of a Mongol host, some sitting on their long tails, 
others paddling about in their canoe-shaped Bhoes, and all 
furtively glancing from their almond-shaped eyes. I broke 
silence in broken English, which most people imagine ap- 
proximates any language they cannot speak. There was a 
general Tartar grimace, followed by a suppressed yabber, 
and one jolly little fellow, whisking his tail with his hand, 
came forward to carry on a conversation in short nods and 
eyebrow elevations. After an interchange of compliments in 
this significant way, I had another try at the hashed English. 
" Come gode," I said, pretending to scratch the earth, at 
which they all laughed, and nodded like the wound-up 
mandarins in the Lowther Arcade ; for if there is one word 
which, more than another, is known all the world over, and 
can make itself understood from Kamtschatka to Cape Horn, 
from Greenwich Observatory to the 180th degree of longi- 
tude, and round again, without an interpreter, that word is 
gold, pronounce it gode, or by any other analogous sound. 
"Come gode" was my happiest effort, and " Va good" the 
purest Mongolian Saxon on the other side ; and after ring- 
ing the changes on these four words for over an hour, they 
rigged their fore and aft poles, and proceeded through the 
water under loads that would make a mule stagger, and I 
continued at a smart double-quick on the other trail. 

I had quite enough of it when I reached "Watson's, and as 
I sat down by the creek to wash my feet, and put on dry 
stockings in my wet shoes, I think no mortal amount of 
aggravation would have irritated me to resent it, by* throwing 
the drop of brandy I carried in my tormentor's face. There 
were large arrivals from the Geelong direction, but supper 

vol. i. s 


was long over before the first of the down crowd appeared, 
and all were a-bed long before the last of them reached their 
destination. I got the same bedroom I occupied on the up 
journey, but with rather different company. I had no choice 
but to take as a sleeping partner a huge, hirsute, pock-marked 
brute, whose beard was dripping stale tobacco-juice — two of 
his mates occupying the other bed, and a third lying in the 
narrow space between them, with his head to the closed 
door, which prevented the possibility of opening even a slit 
to let in air. Before going to sleep, these worthies, who were 
all ticket-of-leave men from Van Diemen's Land, amused 
each other, and favoured me, by relating the crimes for 
which they were lagged,* and the desperate deeds they com- 
mitted in Tasmania. All lags scorn to admit that their 
sentence was earned for any trivial or pettifogging crime. 
Most aspire to chivalrous guilt, many to romantic poaching — 
a favourite transgression with the more modest convicts — 
and a good few to female violation, which ranks as honour- 
able gaUanky. My mates were all of the Jack Sheppard 
school, with the exception of my bedfellow, who told us "as 
how his lovily young mistress cast sheep-eyes hon 'im, an' 
stole to his bunk hov a night, whin they was discivered, and 
he was a lagged for a rape, fchof it was a point hov pure 
affeckshun ;" whereupon his mates all roared out in a bull 
laugh, exclaiming individually, "Veil, I'm b d! only 
think of Bill being a lagged on the lovin' lay ;" one adding 
a postscript to the effect " that his mug would want cross- 
ploughing an' bnsh-harTowin , to make it pass as Christian." 
In the course of the night, the small apartment, without 
any vent, and five pair of lungs at work, became like a fetid 
oven. I gently tried the door, but it was " no go." I then 
had recourse to the window, which, unfortunately, was in a 

• LaggtdamassmBttdaiid{BOMetttedte&^ 


single frame without hinges; but, as something akin to suf- 
focation was impending, I shook and tugged until I pulled it 
in with a jack, which upset something on the sill with a noise 
that made two of these worthies start up, crying, " Planted 
by ■ J 9 ' from their constant habits of nervous apprehen- 
sion. But they soon became conscious of the false alarm, 
and, after rebuking me gruffly, one of them stretched out Iris 
big boot from the blanket, giving his mate on the floor a 
playful kick, lest " he'd pull the spikes out o' the boords with 
his b— y snorin'." It is unnecessary to remark that I did 
not undress going into bed with my delicate fellow, and, 
being ready equipped, I watched breathlessly for an oppor- 
tunity of getting out through the now open window. At 
last I made my escape from these convicts at large, but I 
had barely time to mount the standing trunk of a cut-down 
tree, which I espied in the moonlight, when I was encircled 
by an infernal pack of savage dogs, that were let off their 
chains overnight in the back premises. They got up a most 
diabolical outcry, at times jumping and snapping at my ex- 
tremities, while I was busily employed kicking out in front 
and rear, and describing in the intervals the arc of a circle 
with my legs to preserve my calves from being torn away. 
And tints was I stuck up, in reality, until the dawn came to 
my relief, after a two hours' purgatory. 

A man coming out to chop some wood for the breakfast 
fires then relieved me, and I rambled round to the front, 
where fully two score of the too-late down arrivals of the 
preceding evening were stretched under the verandah in a 
most promiscuous manner. They were too tired even to be 
aware of the opening of 4he bar, or to be disturbed by the 
people from the inside picking their steps amongst them as 
they lay snoring an in blissful unccnsriousness, until, «s 
brcakfiwt4ime was approaching, a comical Irish waiter, with 



a fun-poking snub nose, got amongst them, singing and 
winking, " Arouse thee, arouse thee, me bould Sweese boys" 
— tom-the-tom, tom-the-tom, tom-the-toy — on the back of 
on old cracked tambourine, which he then turned up dish- 
wise, demanding " three bob a nob, an' no grumblin'," for 
the bed-tax, which he kept pitching and jingling as he went 
amongst them, exciting some of the more reluctant to " shake 
their giblits," by assuring them that, '"pon his honour an' 
soul, the tay was pulling to pieces, an' the nice fresh eggs 
would be spoilt intirely," which latter protestation was at- 
tended with a white swelling on his merry cheeks. 

I took a standing breakfast in the verandah, and started 
again alone at my best pace, never halting until I reached 
the great camping rendezvous at the Muddy Water Holes, 
where I found a smaller party of Chinese in the act of 
moving in single file, as they always travel. This lot had a 
chartered cart with them, in which there was a great quan- 
tity of luggage in their curious boxes and bamboo packages. 
The driver told me that great numbers had lately arrived in 
Melbourne, where they separated in drafts for the various 
diggings. " Bad luck to the haythins," he continued ; " they 
won't lave a blessed crum o' gould for an honest Christian if 
they cum at this rate, though, indeed, I've got nothin' to 
allige agin the crayturs, for they've paid me dacint, for a fact." 

I turned into O'Meara's as I passed to inquire if the 
brandy-burning gentry had paid them another visit ; and at 
Batesford I made another short halt on the scene of the 
boot-pulling wager. There long lines of waggons denied 
past while I waited from a down-pour of rain; but as 
evening was fast closing in, with dark opaque clouds crowd- 
ing together in dense masses, I was constrained to go on* 
wards without further delay. I had not surmounted the 
bill range close in front when I was thoroughly drenched, 


and before I reached the southern slope, fronting Geelong, 
it was dark as night ; my road, however, from the heights 
was quite distinct, from the lurid lights of the city, but 
when I got [down on the flat I was in great doubt at times, 
and at others in extreme danger, from the number of deep 
and swollen water-courses which crossed my path. I got up 
to my waist on two occasions, and once was fairly aswim in a 
rapid current. Even when I got into the straggling suburb 
of Ashby, I was sadly confused ; and as every door was shut 
in consequence of the pelting storm, I was often very gruffly 
answered when I knocked for the purpose of inquiring my 

I got into my former quarters in the Pivot City at 
ten o'clock, so soaked and saturated that if I had stood in a 
bucket my drainage would have well-nigh filled it. The 
host and hostess were exceedingly kind, but as my state 
would not admit of my going into the parlour, I managed to 
dispose of a comfortable supper before the kitchen range ; 
and as the " hot water was handy," I manufactured a few 
tumblers of as good whisky-punch as ever was concocted in 
the colony, in proof of which I sent a sample to the parlour, 
which caused an indiscriminate adjournment to my quarters, 
where we enacted a scene of " high life below stairs," which, 
in the end, even attracted the ladies, continuing until my 
clothes were perfectly dry, and my person in a state of most 
agreeable dampness. 

I got a bed this time in a self-contained room, so that my 
slumbers were not disturbed by any neighbourly pastimes, 
and I slept so Bound that on the following morning I did 
not hear the breakfast-bell, and only awoke in time to catch 
the steamer as she was in the act of casting clear of her 
moorings, being obliged to make rather a hazardous jump on 
the taflrail to get on board. As usual in those days, there 

262 lot nr tictcwia. 

a deck fbJl of passengers, and tome lucky diggers amongst 
then, under a spell; of infatuation, like gamblers hurrying to 
a hell, longing to jvssp ashore at Melbourne to get rid of 
their dear^carned gold, and, more lamentable still, to get 
fomtfliM' with scenes and acquire habits which left moral stains 
an ineradicable as the leopard spot. Short as the passage 
was, it was sufficiently long for some exhibitions of extrava- 
gance of the nana! sort. Diggers ia 1853 were the universal 
purse-bearers, and wherever they were present no one else 
dare pay, especially if the expenditure waa in drink- We 
had dinner on board, very good in its way, but as I don't 
incline to soups or sausages made in public kitchens, I de- 
clined the real mock turtle, and whispered the waiter for a 
pint bottle of ale instead, much to the disgust of a digger 
within two of me, who shot a dash of champagne into my 
half-filled tumbler, damning my eyes in a tone of liquid 
friendliness. My next neighbour was an old colonist, and 
looked on, although not for the first timet, like an antipodean 
Bip Van Winkle, who still doubted his eyes as to the reality 
of what was going on before him, every second respiration, 
when disengaged, exclaiming, " Weel, wha wad o' thought o' 
thisinfeeffcy-ane?" However, not withstanding his abstracted" 
ness, he gave me a nudge with bis elbow when I called for 
fowl, which I found was intended as an admonition not to 
have anything to do " wi' the birdies," a pair of superan- 
nuated hens out of a lot he sold the purser, whose aged com- 
panions he was taking up to the city epicures in. Mel- 
bourne, as a delicate change from everlasting beef and 
mutton. He further gave me some parentalish advice oonr 
coming fowls in general at that era, to the effect that I 
should never venture on picking a pinion sitting with my 
back to a wall, as farmers* from the enormous demand for 


eggs and poultry, "ne'er parted wi' their chicks till they 
ganged past laying.** 

The fleet in Hobson's Bay was exceedingly augmented, 
owing, as the captain of the steamer told me, to the immense 
number of late arrivals, and the very great difficulty of 
getting able seamen for the homeward ruin. Lots offered, 
owing to the unnatural rates, to intercolonial porta, even to 
India, the Mauritius, or Valparaiso, but round the Horn 
they would not go at any price, as, onoe out of the Pacific, 
they fancied they got into the old mill track. The Yarra- 
Yarra was an aquatic version of Cheapside, from the dense 
crowd of crafts, of every size and build lightering up goods 
from the bay to the city at freights very nearly equivalent to 
these paid from home to the colony. Aa we slid through 
them, we saw mare than a doien crews regaling themselves 
while sampling for their own satisfaction, the cases and 
packages with which they were entrusted. At Baleigh's 
and Cole's wharfs the lighters lay so thick that we scraped 
the southern banks of the river in getting up, and the piles 
of merchandise that awaited cartage on the banks, to use a 
popular expletive, " was a caution." In reality, at that time 
—in October, 1853 — the stores were wholly insufficient to 
hold the teeming influx of importations. Even though 
offices and what used to be private houses were full, and 
canvas as well as corrugated iron stores had lately been 
erected without number, storekeepers ran up their already 
exorbitant rents exactly one hundred pes cent. I heard of 
a Yankee supercargo who, unable to find any stowage-place 
far his goods, went up at the conclusion of evening service 
to the Wealeyan minister, and made him a " ripping bid for 
the south end of his chapel, giving leave to his crowd to sit 
on the fixins." 


Beading the long lists of arrivals every morning in the 
Argus, and skimming over the crowded and interminable 
manifests, an uninformed stranger would have supposed that 
the inhabitants of Victoria counted by millions instead of 
thousands, and, notwithstanding the regular summaries that 
went home every mail in the Herald and Argus, and the ad- 
monitory despatches of mercantile representatives, the pro- 
verbially cool, cautious, before-looking British merchants, 
seized with a sort of pig-headed epidemic, shut their ears and 
eyes to all inculcations of prudence and calculation. Write 
home at that period " soft goods are a complete drug," and 
every manufacturer in Manchester, Leeds, Bradford, and 
Htiddersfield, got into a strife of emulation to see whose 
shipments of broadcloths and blankets would be largest. 
Gently intimate " that boots and shoes are heavy," and all 
Nottinghamshire would seem to have relapsed into bare- 
footedness to swell their exportations. Cast any imputation 
on butter, and faugh-a-ballagh was the shout of " Double- 
rose Cork" manufacture. Even the canny Glasgow man felt 
it incumbent on him to drown diggers in Campbell-town 
and Islay, if a correspondent presumed to insinuate that 
" whiskeys were moving slowly." In fact — as his lordship 
would sum up — "the more you kept advising them, the 
more they kept never minding you ;" and to repeat a pre- 
vious remark, it would have been very difficult to find, in any 
other quarter of the terrestrial globe, any class of men " so 
obstinately bent on their own destruction as the British 
merchant," to the great subsequent benefit not only of the 
lucky digger, but of every inhabitant in Victoria, who, before 
another year elapsed, could purchase manufactured articles 
in Melbourne much cheaper than in the east-end of London. 
So complete in the climax was the ultimate inversion of 
over-forced trade, that thousands of packages of dry (and 


other) goods were reshipped for home in 1854 and 1855.* I 
also saw hundreds and hundreds of tons of heavy goods, 
such as whitening, arsenic, and the like, which at one time 
fetched fabulous prices, carted from various stores like so 
much rubbish, and shot in the waste ground between Bat- 
man's Hill and the barrack, for storage wa* so immoderately 
high that all merchandise of that description, brought down 
below zero by over-shipments, was carted off the premises like 
so much manure the moment it was suspected as insufficient 
to cover the rent. No doubt a vast proportion of these 
shipments were the blue-moulded occupantB of under-ground 
cellars, and the dust-covered tenants of back shelves for 
years upon years. However, even though they were produced 
for nothing, the freight, shipping charges, lighterage from 
the bay, cartage, storage, and the mild-drawn charges of 
commission-agents, must have very frequently left the con- 
signors sadly on the wrong side of that equatorial line 
which merchants know so well how to draw. But what 
tended to augment this enormous evil was, that every one 
was more or less an importer or a consignee. Very few, in 
coming out, brought either sovereigns or bank drafts. They 
brought whatever goods or manufactures their special friends 
or acquaintances at home most sagely recommended, without 
ever once inquiring whether they were intended for the frigid 
zone or the tropics — whether for the superfine civilisation of 
India, or the aboriginal usages of the Bight of Benin. Every- 
thing was sure to sell in Victoria. It was all the same to 
the digger whether he sank a wet hole in pagammas or mole- 
skins — whether he cradled his stuff in a muslin jacket or 
a buffalo robe, or travelled in mocassins or seven-leagued 
boots— out everything came, though it was "neither fish, 

* Even in December, 1857, the ship I returned in brought back 1500 
casks of Irish butter from an overcrowded market 

3G6 lit* nr tictokfa. 

nor flesh, nor good red herring ; n and not from the British 
Isles alone, but from every maritime kingdom, republic, or 
dependency of importance on the face of the globe, whether 
north or south of the lime^ particularly in the Indian Ocean ; 
though I believe the Australian exports from Boston and 
New York alone* were, for awhile, in their particular line, 
equal to all the wants of the colony. Vr&m the Cape of 
Good Hope, round by Algoa Bay, Port Natal* the Mauri- 
toos, Ceylon, Madras, Bombay, Calcutta, Singapore, Canton, 
Hong-Kong, Betavia — every old, obsolete, decaying commo- 
dity thafc had been mouldering in deserted shops or dilapi- 
dated stoves seemed to be shovelled heads and points into 
skips' holds and despatched to omniverous Melbourne; 
while Sydney, Adelaide, Hobart Town, Launeeston, and 
the New Zealand settlements, stripped themselves so bare of 
necessaries that they approached the condition of the im- 
provident man, who reduced himself to one shirt, and had to 
stay in bed while that was washing. Is it to be wondered at, 
then, that storage was as difficult to find as lodgings during 
the season of the Great Exhibition, or that rickety lofts 
brought in a larger revenue than the Brussels-carpeted pri- 
vate rooms at Mivart's Hotel? "If this state of things 
continues long," remarked an old lag, "cracksmen may hook 
it, for there won't be any damned corner left far storing 
away stolen goods*" 

Oh, they were rare times! and moat professional men 
eveoi.iB good j^actice in kw ? medi dne,and engineering, At, 
had fingers deep in the mercantile pie;, every one- was more 
or less a merchant, and yon might take your oath that 
the man who was not a merchant was a " commission agent." 
In the Supreme Court, nearly every witness examined at 
Nisi Frius pulled off his right-hand glove to swear he was a 
" commission agent J ' In the. County Court* even in. its 


1<M. jurisdiction, every polished book4ckner answered the 
usual iatenogatory, "A commission agent, air, ear been;" 
and hie worship the. mayor, at his court, had a large propor* 
tion of street broils and brothel robberies elucidated by mem- 
bers of that numerous and influential class. They kept grand 
independent establishments, white the representatives of 
London, Bristol, Liverpool, Glasgow; and Dublin hereditary 
firms roughed it in common boarding-houses. They can- 
tered their shop nags out to St. Kilda and Brighton, when 
it waa absolutely considered a proud thing to be seen riding 
home on the roof of an omnibus ; and they turned out on the 
Great Beach esplanade with gorgeously attired ladies, got 
up and maintained in utter disregard of expense, while the 
afore-alluded-to stingy hounds were content meanly to "bide 
a wee" for s cheaper era, before they would venture in 
bringing out their lawful wives to the colony. But they 
were not so very imprudent after all. They did their bnsi* 
ness in true antipodean style. Anticipating the final clear- 
ance, they began by calculating their commission, advertising 
tin? u grand clearing off sale," merely to ascertain what 
balance might still remain due to them on foot of the whole 
account sales ; for in the revulsion that followed the piping 
times of 1852 and early 1853, it was a lucky lot of goods 
that did not leave a loss ; and instead of those crisp, trans- 
parent dips which are generally expected as the consumma- 
tion, of a transaction, there were empty letters softening 
down the unpleasant result by the certain assurance that 
markets would improve before the next consignment. It 
was quite a common thing, before the end of 1853, to see a 
string of advertisements " calling for consignees to come and 
take away their goods, else they would be stored at their 
risk;" but it was a very uncommon thing indeed for con- 
signees to call, notwithstanding, because they well knew 


that goods so advertised rarely paid the freight. I gave my 
reader some idea of the demand for hoots and shoes immedi- 
ately after my arrival, hut quantum mutatui ab illo, when I 
came down from Ballarat I saw several good lots of Welling- 
ton boots sold at the rate of 7s. 6d. per pair, and some patent 
leathers, small size, at half the money. 

I was not four months absent at Ballarat, and yet the 
change in the aspect of Melbourne was truly wonderful, not 
to be imagined or understood in the ordinary growth or pro- 
gress of Old World cities. The inanimate aspect of the city 
improvement was in some measure to be accounted for by 
the setting in of the dry season ; and although Minder* e- 
street could not boast of a smooth surface, it looked infinitely 
better in powder than in lather. In my short walk from the 
wharf up Market-square the alteration in personal costume 
was really remarkable: respectable men had mustered up 
moral courage to wear frock-coats, and merchants ventured 
to the Chamber of Commerce in the regular British " bell- 
topper,"* some of the nattier going the length of sporting 
kid gloves. I remarked some new buildings of brick and 
mortar and bluestone, and encountered several groups of 
new arrivals, including some strings of Celestials, as well as 
other foreign physiognomies. Not having had a scissors to 
my hair since I went up country, I went into my Mend 
Professor Sands's, from whom I made certain of having every- 
thing fresh or important in the way of news. He was in his 
old canvas premises in Market-square, but had received 
notice to quit, as well as all his brother squatters, although 
he paid as much as 11. a week for his small stand to the 
corporation, who, he said, " were going to make no end of a 
place of it, with some money they were in treaty for with 
a London Jew." 

* Bell-topper was the derisive name given by diggers to old style hat, 
supposed to indicate the dandy swell 


I remarked that there was a strange murmur of music 
about, which, as the wind favoured, increased to a crash, no 
matter from what art it came. I listened with an inquisitive 
astonishment, hoping to extract an explanation from the pro- 
fessor, who was my operator, but he was a listener this time 
himself, endeavouring to get at the details of the cause of a 
great fire which took place the night before. In one of the 
pauses of the narration, " I supposed the premises were in- 
sured." " Lord bless your innocent eyebrows !" quickly inter- 
posed the professor, " stores here never catch fire till they're 
well covered. I reckon, if I put a tar and feather overall on 
this crib, a hot blast furnace wouldn't raise a blister afore I 
put up a tin label like that over yonder, to notice like that 
my policy was all serene ; but once, cappin, that black tin 
receipt goes up, look out, I tell you-u-u. Hell's a humbug 
to it while it lasts. Niagara wouldn't put it out." Then 
turning to a Bendigo digger : " I wouldn't mind betting you 
a shout round for this respectable party, that if you, in your 
way up, stick a ' Sun Fire Insurance' tin ticket on the side 
of that dried-up vulcano Mount Macenden, and then shake 
the ashes out o' your pipe within twenty leagues, that it will 
go off in hot fits afore next morning, and make the kangaroos 
jump a few into the bargain. Nothin', take my word, makes 
things run to smoke like insurin' them. I larnt that afore 
I came to Australia." From the general conversation, I 
learnt that fires were almost of nightly occurrence lately, and 
most of them of mysterious, not to say suspicious, origin, 
not a single calamity occurring in which the property was 
not prudentially covered at least one hundred per cent, above 
its value. In mostly all cases they attained an uncon- 
querable mastery before they came to be discovered, from 
the sparseness of the population residing on business pre- 
mises, and from the scantiness of the police force. But even 
when they were noticed in the earlier stages, there was 

£70 XZFE IK V20XOSU.. 

seldom any amount of valuable property Tescued, m conse- 
quence of the waaa* of any properly organised fire-brigade 
force. There had been searching inquests in some notable 
eases just before I came down, but matters had been so 
adroitly managed in ail of them save one, that the results 
resembled that of the Crimean Commisfiion, "which ascer- 
tained that there waB a frightful waste and destruction of 
life and property, but that there was nobody to blame. In the 
one case two Jews, brothers, were arrested on circumstantial 
evidence that would jeopardise a pope, bat they were ar- 
raigned twice without a conviction, and then turned loose 
on society again. In many cases the arrangements for con- 
flagration were so very flagrant, that out-spoken people did 
not hesitate to express their convictions in the most open 
manner, and in the most public places, that arson had been 
committed; but the injured individuals never dared to vin- 
dicate their characters in a court of justice. As the pro- 
fessor suggested, u when stocks are reduced, people will look 
sharper arter their candle-snuffs ; but one good thing, any- 
how," said he, dabbing a puff of hot lather on the chin of a 
complacent patient, and rubbing it in vigorously as if he did 
not know him from Adam — "one good thing, anyhow, bricks 
will go off like hot buns this summer"— -a remark that caused 
the foam to ripple, for the shavee was a leviathan brick- 
burner, then getting 172. per thousand for half-baked rub- 
bish, which contractors were obliged to buy up for want of 

The professor informed me that his people, as he called 
the Yankees, were coming in "almigfety tall strings' 9 — mer- 
chants from New York, as well as diggers from California; 
bat, he said, " the (HifoTnian* don't like the legal idees lien, 
nohow. The shottm,' up at eleven of nights, and at rantin' 
thne ctf Surwtoj^ goes Again theb gram ooassydexaUe. One 

r y 


top sawyer who corned slick down to wake us up in the 
mixin' of gin-slings, cock-tails, and brandy-smashers, got 
warnin' for keepin' a man from splittin' after twelve o'clock 
of a Saturday night, though, as he said, he never shut his 
bar durin' his hull three years' time in Francisco." " I 
hope," said I, " they won't come preaching their annexation 
doctrine in these latitudes, else I fear the long grumbling 
between John Bull and Jonathan will come to blows." 
" Don't get up your pulse, cappin, on that pynt," he replied ; 
" whin Unci© Bom goes a preachin* poftacks he makes a pretty 
smart guess about Ids crowd ; an* when he goes a filibusterin' 
he keeps hm eyes skinned, too, airree. He don't bounce 
where he*s like to fall through, but sooner nor get jammed, 
he'll fight hm earner. He's plenty on hand up north — 
Sonera, an' Mexico, an' the Ismus ; he'll not mind meddlin' 
with kangaroo land this moon, I tell you-u-u, that's a fact," 
In crossing over OoUina-Bfereet to Bank-place I found that 
both the western and eastern hills were in process of cutting 
down, and that macadamisation was in active progress. At 
the turnstile, where I turned from this great thoroughfare 
up to my brother's premises, a grand auction room was 
going up where I left a tumble-down weatherboard concern. 
From the great dimensions of the building I stopped to have 
a look, and, while stopping, I ascertained that the common 
stonemasons employed had 30s. per day, bricklayers 5s. 
more, and the unskilled attendants 15s. I almost wished I 
could forget my antecedents and shoulder the hod, from 
which employment I could earn, without provoking lumbago, 
the very respectable income of 273Z. 10s. per annum. I 
found my brother's little store finished and cram-full of 
store goods, paying a good percentage on the outlay. And 
now, being a citizen again, 1 must give you a Jew chapters of 
metropolitan life. 



Rejoin the W— ds on Emerald Hill—The new Inhabitants of that Quar- 
ter — Bird-cage Walk under Decoration — Improvement of the Hill — Con- 
tract a Dislike for promiscuous Society — Select an isolated Residence — 
The Brass-band Invasion — Their immense Earnings — Progress of Muni- 
cipal and Social Improvement — Immense Importation of old-fashioned 
Carriages — Yankee Speculation in that line successful — Communication 
with the Interior in those Days — Fast Travelling established by T — d — n 
H — d — s, and not by American Enterprise — The Digger and Cyprian 
Effrontery gives Way before the advancing Tide of Refinement — Religious 
Intolerance, Cant, and Hypocrisy — Its Mode of Operation and its Effects 
— Consequences of Missionary Ofnciousness in the Sandwich Islands — The 
old and new City Burial-grounds — Causes of excessive Mortality ex- 
plained — Mortality amongst Children accounted for — Extract from the 
Quarterly Medical Journal — Commentary on the Extracts — Climate of 
Victoria is undergoing an agreeable Change — The Cause and Effect — 
Influence of the Climate, especially on Married Ladies. 

Before taking a deliberate survey of the progress of the 
city in my absence, I crossed over to Emerald Hill early on 

the morning after my return to visit Mr. and Mrs. W d, 

get my breakfast, and make arrangements, if possible, for re- 
maining with them while waiting for the trial. I was for- 
tunate enough to secure the quarters, and, what was still 
better, we had the little house to ourselves, as Mr. W d 
had obtained very well-paid employment, which, with my 
weekly payment, enabled him to dispense with any other 
lodgers — a desideratum we prized exceedingly, though in 
truth it was no better than an amiable, or perhaps, more 
literally speaking, a flimsy delusion, to flatter ourselves on 


enjoying the pleasurable privacy of "our own fireside," 
when we were only separated by a calico screen from our 
neighbours, who could hear our lowest whispers, and who 
appeared, moreover, to be people of inquiring minds, from 
the fact of their having made preparations, like the peep- 
holes in a drop-scene, through which they could see all our 
goings on, never hesitating to remark aloud on anything 
that challenged their critical observation, either in a com- 
plimentary or sneering manner. 

The rent-collector and his family, and the " W ■ ds, were 
the only people remaining of original or aboriginal inhabitants, 
nor can I affirm that the new comers were an improvement 
on their predecessors, although they were all, I may say, 
carriage-folk ; that is, they took carriage airings, and went 
into town in landaus to do their shopping. By much the 
larger proportion of them were ladies — bless the mark ! grass 
widows — whose lords had returned to the diggings, to dig 
up fresh supplies, leaving their sleeping partners to subsist on 
their jewellery during the low-water season. They lived most 
generally in trios, and if they escaped the direct Cochin- 
China influenza, they got a collateral touch of the contagion, 
for they possessed whole bevies of screaming cockatoos, speak- 
ing parrots, and whistling magpies. Every verandah seemed 
an incipient aviary ; so great, in truth, was the mob of cages 
suspended from the eaves and prop-posts, I christened the 
locality "Bird-cage Walk." And pretty birds they were, 
most of them. If the doctrine of metempsychosis is really 
one of the great secrets of our hereafter, I verily believe that 
the picked souls of some of the most accomplished black- 
guards that ever graced the earth took up their temporary 
abodes in the breasts of the feathered tenants of this locality 
on Emerald Hill, for more select morceauz of obscenity and 
blasphemy could not well be gleaned from the lowest 

VOL. I. T 



haunts of Old World infamy than came pat from the tongues 
of those pretty pets, to the overabounding delight of their 
mistresses, who evidently prized the birds for their pro* 
flciency in slang and infamy. 

The hill had emerged from its chaos, and was now marked 
by rectangular lines, spreading over a great extent, the 
corners, in many instances, marked by buildings of more am* 
bitious pretensions, some at that period, even in the un- 
finished state, being distinguished by those notices which 
are intended to apprise the public and the authorities that 
it was the intention of their proprietors to cheat and poison 
their customers under the sanction of the law. There were 
not many brick or stone edifices in process of erection, but 
the weatherboarded homes were of a handsome and sub- 
stantial character, calculated to favour the tide of residence 
already setting in to that quarter by mercantile and govern- 
ment clerks, who were within an easy walk of their offices, 
while their heads migrated daily to South Gam, Gardiner's 
Creek, and St Kilda. I was always partial to the hill, firom 
its healthful position and the fine views it afforded; but 
though deeply imbued with the usual gregarious attribute 
of our race in early life, I found its impulse oosing out, like 
Bob Acres*s valour, ever since I arrived in the colony. I 
liked to walk alone, to commune alone, to live as much as 
possible alone— I don't mean in single, solitary blessedness, 
but alone in the little circle, selected with care and circum- 

Actuated by these feelings, I went to make inquiries about 
an isolated house, attracted towards it by its loneliness, 
standing as it was, far apart by itself, on a sea of verdure, 
removed from the noise of neighbourhood. I was delighted 
in reading a bill on the window, notifying it "was either to 
be let or sold," and I strove to induce Mr. W ■■ d to be*- 


come the tenant, on the encouragement that I would find him 
four permanent lodgers. I also made inquiries concerning 
it from the "house agents" entrusted with the letting, and 
they asked easy terms, candidly admitting that its complete 
isolation compelled them to ask a moderate price or a low rent, 
as people did not care for being so far apart by themselves, 
lest they should be occasionally submitted to the sticking 

up ordeal. I, however, made up my mind that if W d 

would not take it, and if my plans became so far altered as 
to oblige me to live much in or about town, I would rent or 
buy it myself. 

After my inspection I went into Melbourne, about that 
time of day when fashionable club men " consider the West- 
end well aired." I remarked the same soft, tremulous vibra- 
tion of distant music that caught my ears on the previous 
day, but on this occasion I was determined to fathom the 
myBtery, which turned out, on inquiry, to be no mystery at 
all, but a wholesale immigration of German brass bands, 
Italian organ-grinders, and French performers on the hurdy- 
gurdy, which had taken place during my absence, all work- 
ing away in the most promiscuous manner, and reaping 
what to them was, in its literal sense, a golden harvest. 
Poor devils who, in their own countries, never saw gold 
save in an illusory sense on the basso-relievo of brown 
gingerbread, whose daily gleanings of sous, groschen, or 
maravedis, after furnishing forth a miserable meal to them- 
selves, scarcely afforded a crumb to their white mice or a 
nut to their monkeys, stood in the streets of Melbourne 
receiving a constant plurial tribute of sixpences, shillings, 
and half-crowns, in return for music that would drive swine 
into anguish, or turn a whole brewery of Barclay and Per- 
kins into vinegar. In reply to the interrogatory on the lips 
of my reader, I reply that they came out as free emigrant 


276 life nsr viotoeia. 

not free either, in the colonial or Park-street sense, but so 
far free that they got free passages in return for sitting all 
through the voyage on the forecastle from the time of deck- 
washing in the morning until the termination of the first 
watch at night, bathing the passengers in melody; for, 
curious enough, in that emulative competition which arose 
amongst the great shipping interests in the emigration trade, 
the witchery of sweet sounds was most industriously enlisted. 
The "Wigrams and the Greens, the White Stars, the Black 
Bulls, the Eldriges, and the Eagles lines, after exhausting 
every other device for seducing passengers, had recourse to 
the agency of music, vying with each other to see which 
should bear the largest and the strongest band ; and dock 
touters — as I am informed — at Liverpool and London en- 
deavoured to run up their respective lines by exaggerating 
the strength . and power of their performers. It is a sta- 
tistical fact that Australian emigration has diminished the 
poor-house population in Great Britain, and I feel fully 
satisfied that a glimpse at continental registries would show 
a comparative diminution amongst disciples of Orpheus in 
the countries alluded to ; nor should I be a whit surprised 
when I next visit Boulogne, to find that the pair of Bob 
and Joan harpists who tortured the pier promenaders out of 
their coppers, are leading great monster concerts at all the 
new rushes on the diggings. But as I shall have more to 
say about street musicians if I remember it, I shall go on to 
another of the sights which grew up with equal suddenness. 
I found in the course of my rambles that not only were the 
streets more widely macadamised, but the leading thorough- 
fares were, to a great extent, kerbed and channelled, so that 
along the prospective lines of trottoirs where great dead seas 
of adhesive mud separated the scattered patches of flagging, 
light-shod pedestrians were enabled to walk heel to toe along 


their margins on the kerbstones, often, I must say, meeting 
where it was impossible for either to give way without sub- 
mitting to an alternative which rarely failed to gather a 
crowd of grinning witnesses to watch the denoument. In 
the fashionable centre of Collins-street the increased number 
of unmistakable ladies was perfectly obvious, settling down 
to their inherent avocation of shopping in a very natural and 
becoming way. Private equipages were also decidedly on the 
increase, affording another agreeable evidence of the onward 
march of civilisation, even though the coachmen's perukes 
were not quite up to the Belgravian standard, nor their eti- 
quette either, for these worthies, when they drew up opposite 
the Howell and James's of the place, pulled out their short 
pipes and match-boxes, puffing away cross-legged on the 
hammercloths, while their mistresses were* straining their 
delicate wrists in trying to turn the obstinate handles of the 
carriage doors. I saw with my own eyes the state coachman 
of the mayor pull up sharp at a popular public in the city, 
and was near enough to hear her ladyship stand up and ex- 
claim, " For shame, John ; drive on. What will the people 
flay P" and John's reply as well : " Never you mind, mam, 
the people's not onreasonable ; but if you're distressed you can 
walk on to the corner." And as I really have a bad memory, 
and have kept my notes in a jumble, I will take this oppor- 
tunity of saying that the few britschkas, the landaus, and 
cabriolets which moved about had a winking look about them, 
as if they came suddenly into light after having been im- 
mured in the gloom of pantechnicons for half a century. 
The harness, too, savoured very much of protracted imprison- 
ment ; and as the horses bore no external evidence of having 
been made to order, I will leave the filling up of the picture 
to the imagination of my reader, with this simple remark, 
that if a Collins-street turn-out of 1853 could have been sud- 


denly whisked to the banks of the Serpentine, it would hare 
very quickly attracted its cynosure of admirers. I saw 
several large importations of carriages of all descriptions, 
muffled up in haybands and bolsters, to convey the notion that 
they were fresh from the hands of the Long-acre or Baker* 
street builder ; but I firmly believe that a really new vehicle, 
for purely pleasurable purposes, had not been shipped at any 
British port for Australia until late in 1854. Yet all sold at 
excessive prices, though a monstrous proportion were wholly 
unsuitable to the country, from the nature of its climate and 
the character of its roads. If a prosperous merchant or a 
rising professional man turned up his nose or curled his lip 
at a lumbering landau made for a fast family of the last cen- 
tury, Mr. Molony, who made his pile behind the bar of a 
public, thought it the beau-ideal of a coach, and took it home 
in hasty triumph to see how the mistress, the maid, and the 
young ones would look on it in the back yard without the 
horses. It was in the vehicle line the YankeeB made their 
best hit. Their light one and two-horse buggies, and their 
cabs on the same principle, at first frightened away pur- 
chasers from their slim, spider-like, and apparently unsub- 
stantial construction ; but as Jonathan delighted in spinning 
past his less go-ahead cousins in these imponderous car- 
riages, which with their full party were much more easily 
drawn than the great robust British vehicle in its empty 
state, particularly through the soft pap of infant roads, and as 
they furnished demonstrative proof of their lasting qualities 
notwithstanding their seeming fragility, the lazy prejudice of 
John Bull gradually broke up and dispersed, just as did his 
antediluvian penchant for old flat-bottomed sea-bruisers, 
which, thank Heaven ! have been run off our ocean thorough- 
fare by the beautiful yacht-like clippers of American origin. 
Once the ice was broken, and that Mrs. Bull and the 


ealvelings took courage and respited free in those Yankee 
oanveyancea, there was a regular run on them, and even in 
the deep seclusion of the Bush, and on the difficult highways 
of the diggings, they might be seen rattling along at the 
briskest of paces. 

There had been some feeble and ill-organised attempts at 
coaching communication with the interior in 1853, but they 
were neither safe, nor speedy, nor regular, and passengers 
who paid exorbitant fares in expectation of being whisked up 
to Bendigo, were at least three times on every stage politely 
asked to alight and walk hip deep through the mire even in 
the dark, to "ase the poor horses/' until the system so 
closely approximated to the mode in which Irish spalpeens 
are duped into working their passage on the Grand Canal— • 
via. by driving the horses along the banks— that people at last 
came to exclaim, like young Pat, " Arrah, be japers ! I might 
as well walk as be travelling on fut this aways." The mail 
could not be safely entrusted to those companies who never 
made a through passage without a break-down of greater 
or lesser magnitude ; and if the accident perversely occurred 
in a district that could not boast a blacksmith, there was no 
alternative but to abandon the wreck and trudge on aa one 
best might. 

Here, again, our Yankee cousins did our state some ser- 
vice, for, together with their cabs and buggies, they im- 
ported numbers of those low, open waggon-coaches with 
leathern springs which are alone found equal to the cor- 
duroy roads and broken forest tracks of the far western 
territory. The failure in the South Australian travelling 
was altogether, as has been subsequently proved, owing to 
the unsmtableneea of the carriages* The horses were in- 
comparable, the harness without fault, and the drivers pos- 
sessed all the practical skill and pluck of 'their country, but 



the carriages, however cramped, and plated, and bolted 
with iron, could not be securely constructed-— in fact, their 
strength, so to say, was their weakness; their rigid iron 
stiffness snapped where the pliant leather yielded and 
surmounted the obstacle with safety. Another peculiarity 
of the American waggon-coach is, that it is built on a single 
perch without a traversing fore-carriage — a great element of 
weakness in the British vehicle, and a contrivance in no wise 
necessary driving over the open tracks of a bush road. 

However, as I have already said, although numbers of the 
American waggon-coaches were in Melbourne, they were 
looked upon as the curious would examine strange weapons 
in an armoury — more from the novelty of their construction 
than from any remote supposition that they ever could be 
used with effect. Even the Yankees themselves, though 
aware of their adaptability, never brought them into use in 
Victoria until an English gentleman, whose wits and energies 
were aroused from fashionable lethargy by the deprivation 
of his parliamentary privileges, put the first batch in active 
motion. It is a popular delusion to imagine that safe and 
rapid travelling in Victoria is due to American enterprise— 
a mistaken supposition which has lately taken root because 
a clever go-ahead Yankee managed to associate his name 
prominently with the business, and to put a majority of his 
countrymen in possession of the ribbons. But honour to 
•him to whom honour is due, T — d — n H — d— s was the first 
man who, on his own hook, started and successfully esta- 
blished a line of fast coaches in Victoria. He was as much 
the pioneer of fast travelling in the colony, as John Pascoe 
Eawkner was the precursory apostle of settlement and 
civilisation. Mr. H — d — s, in 1853, purchased up a lot of 
these Yankee coaches, got together mobs of well-selected 
horses, superintended personally all the preliminary prepara- 


tions, starting and maintaining with remarkable punctuality 
all the time of his management a line of coaches from Gee- 
long to Ballarat, over the identical track which I have twice 
travelled with my reader. If western Americans originated 
the project, it would not, nor should not, have been a matter 
of surprise, but that an English gentleman, accustomed to 
tool his teams over the smooth turnpike-roads of England, 
or the well-maintained thoroughfares of the Continent, 
should be the man to carry passengers (really carry them) 
through the swamps, the ravines, the crab-holes, and other 
impracticabilities of the Australian bush, is— even to me who 
have brought wheeled vehicles over strange places — a subject 
of wonder and admiration. His enterprise was as well sup- 
ported as he could have wished, the up and down coaches at 
10Z. fares were always crammed full, nor was there a chance 
of a seat unless it was secured some days in advance, so that 
the practicability and payability of rapid bush travelling 
were at once successfully demonstrated by an English gen- 
tleman " all of the olden time," and not by an American of 
modern growth. Mr. H — d — s embarked soon after in an- 
other leviathan enterprise, which, holding out for a time 
much greater promise of emolument, induced him to sell out 
of his coaching business. It was purchased up by associated 
American capitalists, who, it must be admitted, went ener- 
getically to work in developing and improving the capabilities 
of Victorian intercommunication, evoking a spirit of native 
competition, which has placed travelling by horse conveyance 
in that colony ahead of any other part of the world, taking 
the nature of the difficulties, the various hinderances and 
obstructions, into consideration. 

But I find I am travelling rather fast — far in advance of 
my present purpose, which is to show the rapid and sub- 
stantial progress of rational habits in a new city during a 


very brief absence. I have stated my observance of the 
improved costume of gentlemen, generally, and of the civi- 
lising appearance of ladies in the prosecution of their out- 
door duties, and I now have concurrently to remark on the 
very obvious and gratifying moral effect produced by these 
circumstances. Vice and brazen effrontery, which, in its 
heyday, unembarrassed by contrast, held its sway in Collins 
and Elisabeth Btreete, swaggering in drunken riot whereso- 
ever they listed, were evidently beginning to cower and 
shrink like the naked, filthy aboriginal, before the de- 
eencies «nd moderation of superior morality and riyiliaation. 
The coarse rudeness which the digger mistook for manly 
independence, proved itself base metal in juxtaposition with 
the inherent bearing of the man of moral training and 
education; and the strumpet effrontery of the courtesan, 
which amounts to bravery in a physical row, blanched and 
receded before the transcendental presence of the high-bred, 
virtuous woman. There was no mistake about it. The 
rowdy digger and his bloated paramour within a few months 
passively succumbed to the march of moral influence. They 
felt out of their element where before they were the incar- 
nations of vicious insolence, and they sought out other 
haunts where they could indulge in their favourite strut 
and jargon. 

I am not of opinion that legal discipline in religious culture 
had anything to do with this propitious change, although 
reformers and fanatics were bustling about with an officious 
activity, which' was positively surprising in a city where 
there were such ever-present opportunities for embarking in 
practical and profitable employment. There were countless 
projects for restricting the consumption of strong drinks : 
.temperance and teetotal societies, numerous in their dis- 
tinctive appellations, but lamentably scanty in the ranks of 


their disciples. The blessings and benefits of the Maine 
liquor law were discussed and descanted on at their frequent 
meetings with the tepid oratory peculiar to tea-fights and 
bread-and-butter engagements, where turnipy-looking gen* 
tlemen and whey-coloured ladies make examples of them* 
selves in consuming these dropsical ingredients to the gene* 
ral edification and improvement. Then there were " Young 
Men's Christian Associations," and " Young Men John 
Knox's Societies," and societies of all ages and sexes for the 
" Better Observance of the Sabbath," who, finding that the 
force of preaching and personal mortification produced no 
fruits, all concentrated their influence on their legislative 
representatives, inducing them to pass a law which penally 
prohibited the sale of fermented and spirituous liquors an 
Sundays. But, like all efforts to make communities moral, 
religious, or temperate by legal or coercive means, it signally 
failed in its effect. The evil broke out in fresh places, with 
a .train of concomitant evils of an equally contagious and 
demoralising character, amongst which hypocrisy, fraud, 
and smuggling may be enumerated. The country publican 
would sell on the sly to the thirsty family party from town, 
suffering under the evaporating effects of a hot wind, silencing 
the policeman — sworn to do his duty— by ad libitum pota- 
tions ; and, by a curious compromise of conscience, I have 
Been magistrates, who would have considered it an infringe- 
ment of their judicial oath to have taken a glass of sherry 
at the Boyal Hotel, St. Kilda, go into a sly grog-tent hard 
by to eat oysters and drink brandy-and- water. Some of the 
♦ more zealous of the water-swillers— serenely conscientious 
men as they all are — indulged in analogous liberties with 
their pure mental emotions by adopting the calling of spies 
and tempters, luring the tradesmen to crime and then pro- 
curing them punishment— a latter-day mission of saintli- 


ness — truly a modern edition of " putting the cup into Ben- 
jamin's sack and then accusing him of theft." But the 
crusade proved a dead failure. Perspiration would flow, and 
thirst would follow, and necessity made its own laws, leaving 
those enacted by the Legislature to hang up like a sack of 
collapsed hypocrisy-— still in force, but without effect. For, 
without repealing the Sabbatarian prohibition, the police got 
orders from their superiors to wink at the practice, and while 
the proprietor of the Eoyal durst not open his front door of 
Sundays lest he should outrage a circle of snuffling psalm- 
singers outside on the esplanade, all the back doors were in 
effect taken off their hinges to facilitate the approach of 
people under the influence of the most despotic of appe- 

I hope I may not be considered a sneerer at moral prac- 
tices or becoming religious observances, but I wish I was 
endowed with sufficient discernment and ability to knout all 
canting winners into candour and honesty, fellows — many of 
them — who, while " they turn up their tongues into their 
nostrils " to delude their hearers by gross parodies on sane* 
tification, are, all the time of their hollow homilies, burning 
with itching palms and libidinous desires. Melbourne was, 
in my time, always well supplied with troops of these de- 
signing knaves, ranting and roaring on every eminence, lec- 
turing in every corner, and tract-flying wherever a penny 
was to be found. For a time they were formidable, and 
Melbourne seemed fated to fall under the sway of swarming 
Stiggenses and Mawworms. But, in their eagerness for 
supremacy, they gave such unerring indications of intoler- 
able tyranny, that even moderate and timid men resolved to 
spurn and trample on the- odious yoke. 

When in the Sandwich Islands in 1850, I saw enough of 
canting, designing missionary Methodism to stamp it in my 


mind as a gross scheme— a monster mistake — a calling at 
flagrant and ungodly variance with the all-wise beneficence 
of the Almighty. These men, arriving in advance of general 
Christian emigration, cajoled the unsophisticated chiefs of 
these emerald gems of the Pacific into the belief that they 
were all-wise and infallible. They framed penal laws for 
their primitive conclaves to enact, they selected their own 
creatures as the administrators, and the effect of some of 
these studiously designed laws, though not in operation for 
the tenth of a century, is, that the native population is on 
the high road to extinction to make room for the collateral 
broods of these self-constituted apostles. This is christian- 
ising with a vengeance. This is 

The patent age of new inventions 
For killing bodies and for curing souls, 

all propagated with the most selfish, and often, to my know- 
ledge, with the most sensual intentions. The primitive and 
immemorial habits of this fine and discerning people, suddenly 
stricken down by act of Parliament, naturally, if not neces- 
sarily, developed themselves in the most God-forbidden 
manner. It was decreed by missionary wisdom that sexual 
intercourse, without the sanction of marriage, should be 
visited by the severest penalties ; but a tropical race, consti- 
tutionally incapable of resisting the impulses of nature, and 
ignorant of the solemn sanctity of the seventh sacrament, 
were soon driven to learn and practise the frightful alterna- 
tives of abortion and child murder in order to evade the 
punishment instituted by their Christian preceptors for their 
indulgence in traditional custom. Thus the sin of fornication 
was supplemented by the crime of murder, and all within the 
knowledge of the apostolic missionary; for, when I was 
there, it was perfectly notorious there was not an infant on 
the whole island on which the capital, Honolulu, is situated, 



nor a child of tender yean ; and the divine truths of the 
Gospel were expounded in village groups, where young 
women openly sat suckling puppies and piglings instead of 
their own natural offspring. Even the harmless athletic 
exercises of these fine islanders were forbidden by mis- 
sionary law ; and a people who, a generation before, were 
remarkable for physical power and muscular development, are 
now doomed to dwindle and become effete. Thus, I verily be- 
lieve, will it ever be where cant and rant is omnipotent. 
There will nature and nature's laws be subverted, and Di- 
vine precept strangled to subserve selfishness, lust, and poli- 
tical aggrandisement. 

"What, asleep again, Joe?" Wardle used to exclaim to 
his fat boy. "What, wandering again?" must I now ex- 
claim to my truant pen, with the reminder that Melbourne 
is the theme and not Honolulu. But, in order that I may 
glide rather than skip from topic to topic, let me, before I 
emerge from the serious line, allude to the strange anoma- 
lies of Australian philanthropists, whom neither failure not 
satire could reclaim in the northern hemisphere, nor antipo- 
dean influences reform at the other side of the globe. One 
would think that the scandalous prominence of vice and irre- 
ligion, in their most hideous and degrading phases in Mel- 
bourne, would have afforded an ample field where the 
moralist and divine might toil at their labour of love assidu- 
ously and unremittingly, without ever having to repine at a 
moment's leisure, or suffer from the distractions of foreign 
destitution. But, alas for the aimless unaccountability of 
human effort and the fickleness of reclamatory enthusiasm, 
those tender, super-sanctified consciences which groaned in 
agony at the idea of tasting alcohol on the Lord's-day, could 
witness with composure the grossest mid-day exhibitions of 
drunken prostitution, and, instead of endeavouring to mode- 


rate the abomination by the institution of reformatories, 
or restrain it by invoking the intervention of the strong 
arm of the law, they shut their eyes to seenes little, if 
at all, short of the infernal excesses which drew down. 
Divine wrath on Sodom and Gomorrah, and employed 
themselves in originating " Aboriginal Protection Societies," 
"Missions for the Christian Instruction of the Chinese," 
and such-like canting institutions ; exhorting their fanatical 
dupes to rush to the rescue of Pagan souls, while erring 
Christians were abandoned to go to — headforemost by 
express train. 

Another serious subject that confronted me was the city 
burial-ground, which, on my arrival in the colony, was quite 
a suburban institution, so far removed from the high-water 
mark of city settlement, that I imagined the foremost wave of 
commercial encroachment would not approach its margin for 
another generation, and so spacious in its area that I con- 
ceived the average mortality would not subject it to a crush 
in a like period. But one-third of a single year produced the 
change which I could not have assigned to a quarter of a 
century. Elizabeth-street stretched its northern extremity 
to the limits of the graveyard; Swanston-street projected 
still further in the same direction, with a large cluster of 
population at its end ; and North Melbourne, to the north 
and north-west, sprang up like an incipient and independent 
city, making the rural cemetery an intramural burial- 
ground, and constraining the corporate authorities to lay out 
another city for the dead in a much more remote locality. 
At the first blush, this astounding fact would favour the 
inference that Melbourne was frightfully unhealthy, when 
coffins came to shoulder each other with such extreme 
rapidity. But such was not the case, nor is it now, notwith- 
standing its bad surface-drainage and the long intervals of 


drought, during which accumulations of ordure and refuse 
remain festering and exhaling their foul odours around the 
various dwellings. The average of deaths was increased 
enormously, in the first place, by the vast tide of emigration ; 
secondly, by the state of health in which a large proportion 
of these emigrants were landed, especially the children, while 
the difficulty of procuring anti-scorbutic diet for nursing 
mothers necessarily precipitated the crisis of every disease in 
infantile constitutions ; thirdly, by the effect of what may be 
termed privations in personal habits or comforts of a nu- 
merous class of the more respectable emigrants, accustomed 
to luxuries at home ; and generally to the frightful mortality 
directly traceable to intemperance, excess, exposure, and ac- 
cident amongst those unfortunate classes of both sexes who 
formed too large an element in the population. 

It is a wide-spread impression which has obtained great 
circulation in the mother country, that Victoria is a climate 
particularly fatal to children ; and as I believe this is a most 
erroneous idea, so far as my observation and inquiry would 
enable me to judge, I will take a few steps in advance in 
order to offer some remarks on a subject which, as well as I 
can foresee, I shall not have occasion again to revert to, 
sheltered also by the excuse that at the juncture concerning 
which I at present write, medical statistics of a comprehen- 
sive or reliable character were not in existence. The official 
report of " Births, Deaths, and Marriages," to which I shall 
refer, is the third annual report issuing from the department 
of the Eegistrar-General, in connexion with which I shall ex- 
tract from, and join in comment with, an excellent colonial pe- 
riodical, The Australian Quarterly Medical Journal for April, 
1857. It appears by the report that " the total number of 
deaths of all ages in Victoria for the year ending the 30th of 
June, 1856, was 5760, of which 2668 (or about 46 per cent.) 
were children under five years of age ; and of the 2668 


children who died, 2420 (op about 90 per cent.) were under 
two years of age. 

" The questions which naturally suggest themselves upon 
seeing such a fearful rate of infant mortality are : Can any- 
thing be done to diminish it ? are any of the causes prevent- 
able ? or, must we patiently submit to it as an inevitable 
condition of infantile existence in this part of the world ? 
"We find by our own experience, which agrees with that of the 
oldest and most experienced physicians in the city of Mel- 
bourne, that it is attributable to the following causes : 

1. Improper diet. 

2. Want of exercise in the open air. 

3. Badly ventilated bedrooms and localities. 

4. Occupying the same room with parents. 

5. "Want of due attention to cleanliness. 

6. Too long-continued nursing. 

7. The administration of narcotics. 

8. Unsuitable clothing. 

9. The ordinary diseases of childhood, all of which are 

aggravated by one or more of the foregoing causes." 
Now, before joining in an analysis of this list of causes 
with the reviewer, I cannot help observing that his deduc- 
tion, which appears to be wholly founded on naked numerical 
comparison, is not a fair or sustainable one on which to 
ground such an assertion as a " fearful rate of infant mor- 
tality." No doubt 2668 would be a fearful rate of infant 
mortality as compared with a total of 5760, if all the attend- 
ing circumstances were such as are ordinarily to be found 
in getting at a statistical compilation of the kind ; and here 
let me quote a note of the Assistant-Eegistrar- General from 
his Facts and Figures on this identical assertion : " "What- 
ever degree of significance may attach to the fact that nearly 
half the total annual deaths in Victoria occur among children, 


200 lute iw TiewmiA. 

depends upon the* per-oentage of mortality found to ofetaia 
among the mean infant and adult population constantly 
living. Iir like- manaeff, before we cam appreciate the state- 
ment, that oat of the total d»aths< under ITyeara 90^per owfc.. 
of that number died muter 2l years of age, we must: know? 
how many were living; on mm average, within the respective; 
terms ' under 2 * and front ' 2: to 5/ during 1 the givero terms 
over which the- fatal cases were- spread. The mere number 
of deaths in any locality is no* safe guide to the actual rateof 
mortality therein, and afford* no calculable comparison with 
the number occurring in any other locality, unless} indeed, 
the elements of the population as to age and sex in* both 
places are equal, or, if not, that the differences are known, 
and the consequent corrections' applied." 

In reference to the first cause, the reviewer says: " If is 
the principal one, exciting diseased action, and rendering the 
system susceptible to it from the adulteration of cowVor 
goat's milk, and the use of gruel, arrowroot, panado, and 
potato sop superinducing- impaired digestion, diarrhoea, and 
fatal dysentery : hence marasmus' and protracted dentition." 
Without presuming to enter on professional refinements^ I 
think, as I said a little before, that the adulteration of the 
mother's milk should be set dbwn as the primary cause of 
infantile delicacy in Victoria, because I feel assured that, if 
the report contained a column tracing the infant mortality in' 
its proportionate amounts to the different classes of society, 
it would be found that in the decent and respectable ranks, 
where mothers lead lives of temperance and regularity, 
infants at the breast are as healthy as in any other country ; 
while, on the other hand', those nursed by mothers whose 
constitutions are weakened', whose blood and marrow are 
diseased and vitiated by vile alcoholic compounds, caimow 
yield heaMy or nutritious- milk to> tfte suekmg babe» A 


cow's milk can be improved or deteriorated in richness by* 
tbe effects of diet, and I suppose the same natural analogy 
would apply to woman. 

Secondly, " want of exercise ** is prescribed for by the re- 
viewer by advising the "hire of an additional servant " — a 
remedial measure rarely attainable to the bulk of the people 
in any country, but especially* in "Victoria, where wages are 
a positive prohibition except to the favoured few. I will 
take the liberty of tacking* on- to " want of exercise," want of 
common care. Mothers who do not take care of themselves 
are equally indifferent about their offspring, and the fruits of 
those hasty, uncared-for animal associations so rife in the 
earlier days were never regarded with real maternal solici- 
tude. I have known mothers to leave their children whole 
days in their tents without coming home to give them the 
breast, returning at last too much inebriated to hear or 
hearken to their famishing' cries. I have known, too, 
instances of children being partially devoured by pigs in the 
absence of their parents. 

" Badly ventilated rooms'* is, in my opinion, a very partial 
evil in Victoria, where, according to my early experience, 
ventilation, save in the heart of Melbourne alone, was rather 
in excess — most certainly in the abodes of the humbler 
classes of town folk — while in the diggings, where fully one- 
half of the entire population resided in calico tents, it is 
scarcely to be conjectured that either old or young suffered 
fiom an insufficiency of air. I will only notice one other 

" The administration of narcotics, " — which I have no doubt, 
from the exigencies of married life in the colony, were often 
vesevted to from sheer necessity by the best mothers. The 
reviewer says that "fozdarrum and quack soporifics are given 
to young infants to keep them quiet ; gin, also, is a constant 



remedy in teaspoonful doses to ward off convulsions" — a 
medicine always sure to be within reach of a certain class of 
Victorian matrons — ''the finest thing in life for keeping 
their little stomachs warm and free of wind." But in cases 
of labour brandy is the sovereign panacea for assuaging the 
pains, and writhing patients have been heard to direct the 
midwife, with true colonial instinct, " to run for a pint of 
burnt brandy, an' make me drink it whether I will or no." 
I believe myself, that if a registry of births and deaths had 
been taken in the pastoral days of Port Phillip, infant 
mortality would not have been found above the general 
average ; but the great discovery which diminished shepherds, 
spreading scab and disease amongst sheep, had a like effect 
amongst servants and nurses, and, superadded to the causes 
already enumerated, produced premature decease amongst 
children and infants. 

I am firmly persuaded that the climate of Victoria is fine 
and salubrious. I will not go the length of doing violence to 
metaphor by asserting that it would warrant one " in sleep- 
ing out under a gum-tree," unless he lay down with the in- 
tention of enjoying uninterrupted repose until the day of 
judgment, but it is a climate, " taking it for all in all," which 
admits of as much open air work, recreation, and enjoyment, 
as any other I ever experienced. A really fine day in Victoria 
gives one a sort of enchanted feeling, as if he could subsist 
on the glorious air and light alone, without resorting to 
coarse material mundane diet ; and although the sun may 
be at 110 deg. in the shade, it rarely ever strikes one down 
by its intensity. In other countries, in the same parallel of 
latitude, a mid-day sun dare not be encountered without an 
umbrella, yet in Victoria a man may ride, walk, or work 
during the fiercest focus of the blistering orb without any 
danger, and with little inconvenience ; while in the evening 


or midnight hours there is never any of that sweltering heat 
almost invariable in regions occupying a similar position in 
the temperate zone. I am free to admit, however, that it is 
rarely, if ever, favoured with those soft, limpid, glistening, 
lukewarm showers of which there are some rare traditional 
records over in Britain. In Victoria, a squall rushes up, and 
bang bursts the cloud, without sign or warning, disgorging 
itself with all the raw rancour of a Polar winter for a term, 
when it breaks off as suddenly, giving place to smiles of 
genial sunshine, as if the untrained elements were unequal 
to the graduated transitions of more mature countries. How- 
ever, even this peculiarity is undergoing a quick, certain, and 
agreeable mutation, corresponding with the settlement of 
the country. Sains are becoming more equably diffused 
over the seasons, and hot winds are being gradually driven 
back into the interior by the increased humidity of the 
climate, which is easily accounted for by the increase of 
cultivation and agriculture, causing the rains and moisture 
to percolate through the soil instead of running off the 
surface, thus keeping the atmosphere cool and comfortable 
by a regular process of evaporation. And this effect is im- 
mensely enhanced by the millions upon millions of water- 
holes spread over the colony in the several diggings, which 
fill with water during the winter season, and contribute 
largely to the general humidity throughout the remainder of 
the year : a result most sensibly felt not only in the atmo- 
sphere, but in the soil ; for stations which, in the early days, 
had to be abandoned during the summer from the utter 
dearth of water, can at present be occupied the whole year 
round, and diggings which could not be worked formerly in 
the dry season, for want of the same element, possess it now 
in perpetual abundance. I would, therefore, impress upon 
those curious and investigating people who abound in the 


British Isles, the necessity of paying Victoria on 'early visit 
if they desire to revel in the abandon of hot winds* for I 
conceive their last appearance may he anticipated at no dis- 
tant season. 

If I were a selfish or qnerulons individual, I might, per- 
haps, he justified in complaining that the «dry and exhaust- 
ing nature of the climate was accountable for the Oxford 
grey complexion of my hair, and the crow's-feet which Jiave 
crept about the corners of my -eyes duriqg my sojourn in 
Victoria ; but I harbour no emotions of .grudge for those 
untimely developments, which I do think will also be modi- 
fied by the anticipated seasonal changes in store. I sincerely 
trust that like modifications may attend the influence of 
climate on the fair sex, who, it would be uncandid to deny, 
at present appear to be unduly affected by it. There can be 
no doubt — nor is there any amongst my numerous discern- 
ing acquaintances in the colony — that all ladies, but in a 
much greater degree ladies in the marriage state " who love 
their lords," are lamentably susceptible of the encroach- 
ments of agedness. I have in many instances seen lovely, 
blooming young creatures, the incarnations of health and 
perfectibility, whose physical elasticity suffered deplorable 
impairment while carrying the heir of the house in their 
arms, and who became unfitted for lighter gaieties of society, 
while in years they were little in advance of well-grown girls. 
Victoria, whatever in future times it may become, is not just 
yet a climate for developing mellow beauties of the " fat, 
fair, and forty" category — at least, I have not seen any of 
them amidst a chaos of " new ruins ;" and, always .an advo- 
cate for considerable disparity in the ages -of betrothed 
couples, I would the more strenuously recommend it in 
matrimonial alliances in Victoria. 



Introduce Pise* Building — Its Cheapness and Utility— 'Popular Curiosity 
.and Satisfaction — Hot Winds—Black Thursday — The Bust Nuisance-— 
Its insinuating Character — Futility of attempting to keep it under by 
"Water-carts in Melbourne— Signs of the Times — Public Balls — The 
mayor's Fancy-dress Ball — The Mongrel Dresses — The departing Scene 
— Effect on the Pastry Trade — Mistakes^of the Conductors— Losses of 
Wearing Apparel — Tie Queen's Arcade — The opening Ball there — 
Beauty of Melbourne Women— The Arcade a partial Failure*— A De- 
scription of the Concern — The Antipodean Ttftter&alTs described— The 
Curiosity it engendered — Curious Speculations — Charity an Exotic in 
the British Isles and Colonies — Magnificent Ball at the Tattersall Esta- 
blishment — An utter Failure as a profitable Speculation— -An overground 
Edition of the Thames Tunnel — A Peep at the Ball on Emerald Hill- 
Amenities of the Ball-room — Sad Reverses in Bird-cage Walk.; 

Eight or ten days' sojourn in Melbourne decided me on 
postponing any (digging tour until the approach .of the -en- 
turing rainy season, as I was given to understand (there would 
Jib a decrease of operations on the gold-fields during the dry 
•mason ; .besides which, long pedestrian journeye under a hot 
tson before I became at all accldmatked, did Jiot appear to 
me a judicious or comfortable proceeding. Having come to 
this determination, I cast about in my mind for some active 
-and, if possible, profitable mode of employing. myself in the 
mean time. Jrom the prohibitory price vof bridks or good 
building stones, the jgreat scarcity, toad consequently dearness, 
oof .lime, the extremely absurd rates of dolled and unskilled 
.labour, I bethought me that a teheap, .hasty, and toksBMy 

296 lipe rsr victoeia. 

substantial style of building would be a very lucrative occu- 
pation ; and in furtherance of this idea, I went in search of a 
central block of ground in the city, with the view of initiating 
pis6 work, as it is called, the materials of which (loam and 
earth) were to be had everywhere on or near the surface, 
and which not only does not require the employment of ex- 
pensive skilled labour, but is capable of being put out of 
hand in quantities more than quadrupling the work of the 
most expert bricklayer. It is susceptible of the neatest 
finish, being peculiarly suitable to a warm climate, as it is 
extremely cool in summer, and comfortably warm in the cold 
season. But if the materials are not properly admixed and 
tempered and thoroughly rammed, so as to prevent the pos- 
sibility of interstices, houses built in this manner become, 
after a short time, intolerable, from the quantities of bugs 
and other vermin which insinuate themselves into them, and 
then honeycomb the walls from side to side, rendering extir- 
pation impossible, except by resorting to entire demolition. 
This style of building, as well as the adob6, I first saw in 
Southern California, where I became satisfied of its eco- 
nomy and utility. I believe it was formerly resorted to in 
the southern counties of England for granaries and farm- 
buildings, and, when properly constructed, they were found 
to be very lasting. I shall not leave myself obnoxious to the 
imputation of book-making by giving a detailed and figura- 
tive account of the simple process, which I rather think will 
be found in most encyclopaedias, lucidly explained and amply 

I entered into a treaty for leasing a half-acre of trust pro- 
perty in Great Lonsdale-street West for a term of twenty- 
one years, at a yearly rent of 500Z., and commenced proceed- 
ings forthwith, pending the ratification of the lease by the 
trustees, resident in England. As stabling was very scarce 


and livery nigh, I resolved on covering the whole area 
by a great horse repository, with all its appurtenances. I 
was my own architect, drawing out the plans, and laying 
down the lines of foundations. In a very few days I had 
several lines of frames at work, which had such a strange ap- 
pearance, with strings of busy men ramming down the earth in 
them, that people from a distance round came to look on and 
laugh at the operation ; however, when they came to see the 
frames unscrewed and removed, and the hard, solid, polished 
walls standing in their stead, like connected blocks of drab- 
coloured marble, their derision was soon changed into wonder, 
and the fame of the pise" went abroad on the wings of the 
wind. Next came groups of citizens in want of houses to 
examine the composition, picking with penknive-points to 
assure themselves of its thorough induration. Some came 
accompanied with their architects, and all seemed to be im- 
pressed with complete satisfaction as to the excellence of the 
innovating material. One class alone not only condemned, 
but attempted laughing it to scorn ; however, finding that it 
grew in popularity, they cemented their contempt into hos- 
tility, and as the feeling went abroad among the masons that 
pis6 would supersede brick and stone building, I got private 
information of certain intentions on the part of these trades- 
men to come and demolish all the work I had erected. I 
thereupon communicated with the police authorities, and 
made it a sine qud non that all the men engaged in my em- 
ployment should live on the premises, prepared to resist any 
such attempt. Their number, as well as other precautionary 
measures, I suppose it was that protected me, for there was 
no attack, which I apprehended all the more, as I ascertained 
that brick-burners and quarrymen made common cause with 
the masons, in apprehension of what really soon began to fol- 
low — viz. a downward tendency on the skilled labour market, 

386 xcfjb m nOSOHU* 

*and a decline in <tke §xke<ei tracks* and saob-like Imilding 

*Brittal£haugih everything went on veil and smoothly, the 
5>dbHcieflkadiord^mefuTtliea*juwurance of the practicability 
.of pke-JwiiMiftg. The series of walk, external and internal, 
, dividing aiid sub dividing at varying itUcknessea, were, to lie 
tflurq, standing over the entire area at .an elevation of six feet 
— >tae height of the first .set of starts — with the gate-posts,, 
doomcasea,-and window-frames all neatly and securely built 
in, yet »there Hstall lingered a doubt, xxr difficulty, as to .the 
feasibility of carrying round the second course ; " frames 
might be made to stand on the. ground well enough, but 
it iwas a horse -of another .colour to perch them on top of 
'the walls." Obeat was the curiosity to see this operation., 
and so great was the crowd of spectators, that it ^embarrassed 
•the movements of the workmen. However, the suspense 
was of limited duration; one .set of frames were soon com- 
pleted, and as they came down, leaving another layer of com- 
3>oaiifc6 marble standing plumb above the first, with scarcely 
-the semblance of a seam, a .shout of triumph Arose, and Ahe 
last bilious-looking, cavilling sceptic gave in ins adhesion. 

.Next day I lad the iumouc, "by command," of .an inter- 
view with the governor, who was all along .aware of my 
.operation*, and cognisant of the adaptability of pise building 
to stores .and dwellings ; but after a good deal of general con- 
versation, he came to je£er specially to .my project, of which 
he highly approved, .but with bis own peculiar .suave -signi- 
ficance ine suggested " that I did not seem altogether to ap- 
preciate the extent and full leffect of the wet aeason in Vic- 
rtoriaas it bore upon my undertaking," giving me to under- 
stand that he conceived! should .have commenced flpftrfttioTy 
«osl a stone foundation, I understood the /force and effect /of 
his ^suggestion, bob I ceuld not Jhring jnyaelf to adopt it at 


the wta&etto which 1 ..had adremcetL It wasnot indolence ior 
want «©f moral <aonnage that jpeaturiiiedfifte, hut a reason even 
jmcre insuperable than either*--«a want >of ^pital to undo what 
I had done, and aanunanoe anew.. I bad made atstart, calon- 
latingon Beaching the -point of geimbarHemflut with the "vmwh 1 
in hand ; but<as my calculations would have .been altogether 
subverted by the ether Bourse, I preferred faking my chance 
of the -wet jeaaentormning a-nmck with certain embarrass- 
ment. So on I .proceeded, with auoh steady *uceess that I 
mm offered several private contracts, And I was asked to con- 
tract far the erac&ian in (pise* of a new military barrack in 
Melbourne, And a Government camp at an Adjacent gold- 

.The aranmer.advanoad as my works (progressed, ?and auoh 
a jsmnmer as was rarely experienced : hot wind succeeded 
not wind, each exceeding its rmsonrsar in the violence of its 
paroxysms and the intensity of its (temperature, and, what 
was still worse, mi the choking density of its accompanying 
dustolouda. Old eolonists looked grave, and gave ominous 
bints of another visitation 4»milar to the awful Black Thurs- 
day, when the whole country was in a blaze, -and where the 
atmosphere was mot flame, national beings were obliged to 
prostrate (themselves to .preserve animation by sucking 
scarcely respirable air beneath the murky *oolumnB of hot 
smoke, the brute creation, burning .alive as they stood, 
lowing And bleating in the pitiable anguish of animal atu- 
gridity. i£t was a i;ruty awful 'day, when thick green forests 
*mnB burned up into black, unsightly skeletons, while the 
loveliest fvegetation was scorched dnto «nm% and the crust of 
the earth was (baked into a brittle >oake. liken on the plains 
Adiierpen downs the herbagB was «nged brown, And panting 
AaMergaajjedim the agony of collapse «m the crackling sod, 
or staggered, under the natural instinct of life, for preserva- 


tion to the pools and water-holes, which emitted sheets of 
steam as their tribute to the dreadful visitation. The energy 
and ingenuity of man were sorely taxed on that frightful day, 
and their utmost exercise often failed to save the farm-yard 
and the homestead from the devouring element. I have 
heard many, many tales of the appalling horrors of those 
awe-inspiring hours, but I avow with sincerity, while I be- 
lieve them implicitly, I am deterred from narrating them, by 
the apprehension that they would be regarded as manufac- 
tured exaggerations, so far are they beyond what I con- 
ceive to be the utmost stretch of untravelled imagination. I 
heard, amongst other simpler occurrences, that his excellency 
the governor, who was then on a country tour, was con- 
strained to fly for refuge, with his small train of attendants, 
to a neighbouring lake, and remain on horseback almost 
aswim in the water for several hours, while the conflagration 
was raging round the margin of the lake. 

I heard all the particulars of this day, which will be his- 
torical in the annals of Victoria, when I first arrived, and if 
I then swallowed them cum grano salts, I became a firm 
believer in their fullest and most terror-striking features 
from the terrific bursts of roasting granulated atmosphere 
which I experienced in 1853 in the city of Melbourne. Fol- 
lowing the general example, I tied my head in a veil during 
those visitations, and thus baffled the drifting stones and 
pebbles ; but if I had sewed it up in a pillow-case, I believe the 
finer dust would have found its way into the lungs, leaving 
enough in the cavities of the mouth to supersede the neces- 
sity of tooth-powder ; and I remember, when stripping in the 
evening of the first memorable " brick-fielder," that I felt 
an involuntary pang of horror, thinking that the sharkskin 
aspect of my legs was the incipient symptom of elephantiasis. 


It was only a momentary apprehension, however ; and my 
next emotion was one of wonder at the close coat of gravelly 
mail in which they were encased. I felt curiously, and I 
appeal to those who in that year were encased in similar 
teguments, whether it would not strip the knuckles if they 
were rasped over it incautiously. The rest of the body did 
not suffer to the same extent, but it was still sufficiently scaly 
to " excite the especial wonder" of unsophisticated lime- 
juicers. The ears, of course, got pauged with balls of dust, 
and streamlets of coagulated mud trickled down the cheeks 
from the eye-corners until they lost themselves in the forest 
of beard at the lower extremity. 

There is no contrivance which will entirely repel the in- 
sinuations of the fine floury powder which is carried in these 
dust-storms. The closest-fitting doors or windows, over- 
lapped at their opening with list, or caulked with cotton, are 
insufficient to exclude it. You will find on the sashes and 
window-frames a powder so perfectly impalpable, that it stirs 
like fluid when it is touched, resembling quicksilver in its 
elusivenes8. It enters freely into bookcases, wardrobes, and 
cupboards of the best construction, even finding its way to 
the works of the tightest-cased clocks and watches ; in fact, 
nothing short of hermetically sealed cases can escape its 
intrusiveness, and so omnipresent is it, that all the senses 
become infected with a species of gravel complaint, as if 
everything susceptible of touch, taste, smell, sight, or feeling 
was seasoned with sand and excelled in grittiness. Ladies 
have a busy time of it in cleansing their velvets and laces, 
their silks and their satins, after a hot wind ; but how those 
large drapery establishments manage which stand with open 
doors throughout its entire continuance I never have been 
able satisfactorily to find out, for, although their shops of a 


hot wind day look as if they* were- filled with drafr-colomred 
fog, the next" morning every piece and patters appear as 
clear and as fresh as if they same* from* the factory. 

I have known a hot wind to continue without intermission: 
for three days and three nights, bat meet generally they set 
in between eight and ten in the morning, continuing' in 
violent gusts and squalls' until the approach of evening, 
when a lull first supervenes, followed by a cool sooth wind, 
issuing from a dark embankment of cloud which rise* along, 
the southern horizon, and at a proper altitude discharges a 
deluge of rain, which changes like magic the aspect of nature, 
and imparts vigour and joyousnese to languid wretches who 
were panting in parched air for several hours. If hot winds 
in the earlier days of the colony were attended with more 
smoke, since the digging era the deficiency in that respect 
has been most amply compensated by the vast increase of 
dust consequent on the multiplicity of roads and tracks 
which now penetrate the- Bush, alternating from winter 1 mud 
to summer dust. There was not in 1883 or 1834 any at- 
tempt made by the corporation to keep the dust under by 
means of watering-carts, which, in my opinion, would have 
been perfectly futile, even if that body had only to compete 
with the dust of strictly city creation, for the greater num- 
ber of the streets were in a state of nature ; and even- those 
that could boast of strips of macadamisation had much wider 
margins of natural track on either side- of them that gene- 
rated clouds of dust beyond the capability of the best and 
most liberal corporate preventatives. But when the streets 
become entirely macadbmised, the trottoirs flagged over, and 
the roads into the interior' metalled throughout, I conceive 
the perfect watering of the* Melbourne* streets will be quite 

In some of the city blocks the shopkeepers subscribed 


large funds and organised as locaEsedJ system of water-casts,, 
hoping to abate the nuisance, and. to demonstrate by their' 
success the utter sloth and uselesenes^of a tax-creafcrng c©*> 
poration. However, their laudable enterprise tuarnect on* a& 
ludicrous failure 1 . Their application 1 of hydropathy proved. 1 
no better than a quack administrative, for, so far from allay- 
ing the dust generally, they could not at best keep lanes -the* 
width of their wheel tracks more than fitfully open. The: 
machines moved along- in the clouds of dust, only dimly dis- 
cernible, more like the creations of mirage than material con- 
trivances employed in doing the dirty work of a great city. 
On more than: one occasion I was curious enough to follow 
close at the tail of one of these- hydropathic engines to ob- 
serve their effect, but I came to the conclusion that it would 
be nearly as practicable to quench a simoom m the great 
desert of Sahara with a watering-pot as to keep a sectional 
strip of Melbourne damp and clear during' the fury of a hot 
wind by the dribbling of a few water-carts. It was alleged, 
whether in waggery or earnestness I know not, water being 
a very marketable commodity at the time, that on favourable 
occasions the drivers used to whirl off in a cloud and dispose 
of the fluid for household purposes, and return to theirposts 
muffled up in another cloud without exciting the suspicion 
of their employers ; but whether it was dejection at the ins* 
effieacy of the undertaking, or chagrin at the detection of the* 
cheat, the struggle* was- abandoned, after a very brief cam- 

Another of tie* signs of the times* indicative of social pro- 
gress, which came' under my observation about this period^ 
was a growing epidemic for private parties and public bails 
amongst the* later settles*. Private* reunions were- generally 
toer setae*; ho# so much from a paueifcy rf pasties dssiaroua o£ 
participating- in pleasures* oS good! Hueiety, as from the ea- 


pense, the difficulty, and the danger of returning home in 
the dark from these social festivities. Very few, indeed, 
kept their own vehicles, or would incur the expense of hiring 
carriages on those occasions, and if a carriage was employed, 
the great probability was that in the very places where they 
would be most required the state of the track would compel 
the passengers to alight, and trudge through the mire. The 
general practice, therefore, and the one most adopted, from 
the species of colonial chivalry associated with it, was for 
ladies and gentlemen to set out for the scene of pleasure in 
good strong boots, carrying their dress-shoes in bundles, 
starting in good time, so as to get over the trying places be- 
fore darkness set in, and making a hall toilet of the nether 
extremities on their arrival. As to the return, it gave rise 
to no embarrassing anticipations ; even if there was a wet 
souse or an awkward tumble, like the incidents of a fox- 
hunt they were made the subject of glorification and merri- 
ment, and supplied food for highly-coloured paragraphs in 
the succeeding home letter. 

The first ball of a semi-public character, or the one which 
first attracted my attention, perhaps from the circumstance 
of getting a free invitation, was one given by the outgoing 
mayor, J n T s S h. There were numbers ad- 
vertised, immediately after its announcement, to come off in 
close succession, but the mayor's ball was the great social 
topic of the day, because it was known that he was wealthy, 
and so ambitious of display, that no expense would prevent 
him from endeavouring to obtain the very acme of grandeur 
and magnificence ; and what gave the greater £clat to the 
affair was its being announced to come off in the Queen's 
Theatre, of which he was the proprietor. He lavished large 
sums in boarding over the pit uniformly with the stage, and 
decorating the entire establishment in as attractive a manner 
as possible. The sums he expended, seeing the enormous 



cost of materials and the rates of tradesmen's wages, made 
people even accustomed to display at home hold their breaths 
in astonishment. The estimate for confectionary alone, which 
leaked out, was positively startling, and such was the demand 
for pastrycooks — a peculiarly scarce class at the time — that 
some marriages were said to be postponed from the impossi- 
bility of procuring wedding-cakes. 

I omitted to state it was a fancy dress ball, and glorious 
was the harvest reaped by tradesmen in preparing the end- 
less variety of costumes, as no branches of the great home 
outfitting establishments in that line had been then started 
in Melbourne, and glorious also in their grotesque absurdity 
were the mistakes which tradesmen made in their utter 
ignorance, and costumiers in their bald historical remini- 
scences, in endeavouring to get up the dresses of particular 
eras, or to revive the fashions of particular reigns. The 
most flagrant anachronisms of costume were innocently per- 
petrated, and national habits were so impartially mongrelised, 
that true hidalgos sported the Oriental turban, while Turkish 
sultans might have been mistaken for Spanish bandits in 
steeple-crowned sombreros. In like manner, Catherine of 
Aragon or Elizabeth of England were not distinguishable 
from each other by any peculiarities of personal array, nor 
could the nicest historical analysis make the most remote 
guess as to whether the lank gentleman in regal habiliments 
was Louis Quatorze, the Merry Monarch, or Ferdinand of 
Spain ; Mary Queen of Scots might have passed for Diana 
Yernon, and the lady who undertook to impersonate Kath- 
leen O'More would have made an excellent physical repre- 
sentative of Brian Born. There were several Ladies of the 
Lake, Merry Maids of England, and Irish lasses, however, 
who came much nearer the mark, and in any attire would 
have had their admirers, while sailors, diggers, bushrangers, 

TOL. I. I 


and stockriders, dressed to perfection, sustained- their cha- 
racters and played their parts-most admirably. 

The. governor, and suite honoured the assembly with, his 
presence, and the mayor and mayoress enacted their parts^as 
hosts with a degree of hospitable earnestness, above all 
praise. The arrangements were all mojt admirably carried 
out. There was abundance. of the choicest rarities. and 
delicacies, and if some few jolly souls exceeded the limits of 
propriety in their potations, they committed no . trespass. in 
their demeanour or decorum. But the part of the entertain- 
ment — if I could graphically, describe it — which would jsead 
best in. description,, was the out-door scene at the breaking*up. 
The motley mob of vehicles — heavy britschkas, light American 
buggies,, gigs, tax-carts, horse T draysy and bullock-waggons — 
presented such, a varied and ludicrous assemblage of convey- 
ances as perhaps never was brought together before, or ever 
will be. again. An Irish funeral, in. the early part of the 
century, where the person going to his last home was popular 
and respected, was spectacular enough in its way, exhibiting 
strange-looking and primitive carriages, furnished, in a. style 
rather suggested by comfort than effect, but .my impartial 
judgment, in so far as my recollection serves me, compels .me 
to yield the palm to the exhibition at the. front of the 
Queen's. Theatre in Melbourne on the. morning after, the 
mayor's ball. The vehicles and animals were .all jammed 
together in inextricable confusion. There was no earthly 
use in calling for Mr. So-and-so's carriage, or Mr. Such-A- 
one's waggon, because, in the first place, neither, carriaganor 
waggon could move ; and, in the next place, as most of the 
conveyances were hired for the occasion, the drivers. were 
utterly ignorant of the names of their employers. . In nine 
cases out of ten, therefore, the only alternative was. for. the 
most daring and discerning heroes of each party to commence 


a. series of. explorations over houses' necks, bullocks' backs, 
through ; open and oyer close carriages, until they found 
something answering to the object of. their search, when 
such scenes of lifting, pulling, jumping, and screaming en- 
sued as might be supposed to attend the crossing of a rapid 
river on broken drift ice. Many settled down — some in deep 
repose — ^before all were accommodated' and a general start 
effected, and an appreciable percentage of the dispersed 
party found themselves, on being roused up, at the doors of 
distant houses in no wise resembling their own. Some 
lethargic town-people were carried into the country, and 
many denizens of the Bush were sulkily summoned to alight 
in the lanes of Collingwood, and have their b— y, or per- 
haps blood-shot, eyes unpleasantly apostrophised for doubt- 
ing the correctness of the delivery— mistakes proceeding from 
that glorious sense of indifference which scorns to irritate 
the feelings by simple inquiry. There is no record as to 
how families were restored to their homes, but the " Lost," 
and "Mislaid," or "Taken by Mistake" advertisements 
which teemed in the morning papers for some time after- 
wards, proved that however quickly persons turned up, per- 
sonal property was slow in answering even to • the luring 
influence of rewards. I lost a reversible paletot, but picked 
up a cape, in which I found a dingy silver thimble and a 
most unique love-letter. 

*A few days after the mayor's ball there was another grand 
affair nt a new establishment, the " Queen's Arcade," given 
in celebration of its opening, at which the governor was also 
present, arid a great but mixed crowd, the majority of whom 
we*e townsfolk. It was not a fancy dress ball, nevertheless 
it was a ball in which fanciful dresses of the most outr6 
description abounded, particularly amongst the ladies, many 
t>f whom, in their ambition to figure in low dresses, ran into 



that extreme of nudity about the region of the shoulders 
which opera-dancers delight in extending to their legs. As 
far as nakedness was concerned, the effect could not be ex- 

Leaving every beauty free, to sink or swell as Heaven pleases, 

seemed to be the motto under which the majority of the 
nymphs attired themselves, but when these undulations be- 
came exaggerated by violent exercise, and crimson nature 
began to exude perspiration, I, for the first time in my life, 
thought of questioning the propriety of Norah Creina's 
floating costume, wondering, in my heresy, if the artless 
creature was acquainted with the properties of sal-volatile or 
eau-de-Cologne, or if she carried a smelling-bottle about hex 
when she danced an Irish jig. 

" The fun grew fast and furious" in the Queen's Arcade 
at a very early hour of the evening, for the lazy figures and 
gliding graces of modern Terpsichorean invention had not 
yet acquired fame and popularity in the colony. Jigs, reels, 
flings, and country-dances were, therefore, the order of the 
night, and danced with a ceaseless vigour, too, that quickly 
begot a stifling steam, compounded of animal exhalations, 
vile scents, and lamp smoke, which rendered the whole place 
a large vapour-bath. His excellency retired^ early, but with 
the majority I waited till a late hour, as a good system of 
ventilation was subsequently discovered, good viands, and 
fluids, too, abounded, and, more attractive still, the girls, in 
spite of their dresses, were of the class one could not " leave 
behind him," for I will say and maintain that Melbourne, 
notwithstanding its disproportionate amount of female popu- 
lation, contains a larger proportion of fine women and pretty 
girls than any city of its size on the globe, and no matter 
how they may fade before the influences of climate, their 


ranks never present a gap, for angelic recruits ever press 
forward, sweetening and assuaging the conflicts in the great 
" battle of life." 

The Queen's Arcade itself was a bold, and, I regret to 
say, rather an unsuccessful speculation — unsuccessful, prin- 
cipally, from the constraint of position, being too far re- 
moved from those haunts and avenues where the bulk of the 
population love to congregate. Nothing could have been 
more agreeably conformable to such a climate as that of 
Victoria, or to a city subject to such visitations as Mel- 
bourne, wanting as it was in all those out-door arrangements 
that tend to counteract the disagreeabilities of dust and 
mud. An arcade in the drenching rains of the wet season is 
most likely to be the locale where ladies will stroll dry-shod 
from shop to shop, or lounge along with attendant bearers 
during the prevalence of a squall, where matrons will air 
their families, or dilettanti swells after office hours " puff 
their weeds." Again, in the summer season, where is one 
so likely to "knock up against people worth knowing" as in 
the well-ventilated shade of a well-arranged covered-on-foot 
thoroughfare, where hot winds are not allowed free ingress, 
and fountains can be made to create a description of mecha- 
nical atmosphere. Such, I believe, were the ruminations 
which induced the projectors of the Queen's Arcade to em- 
bark their capital in the undertaking. Had they augmented 
the amount to a figure enabling them to purchase property 
for its site either running out of Great into Little Collins- 
street, or even out of Great into Little Bourke-street, I am 
perfectly assured it would have, been a " decided hit," but 
its unapproachable remoteness almost suddenly collapsed it 
after a start of unprecedented promise. 

The Queen's Arcade runs from Great Lonsdale-street 
into Little Bourke-street, covering longitudinally a space 

310 Lira nrvioTOBiA. 

of three hundred and siarty feet by a breadth of thirty-three 
feet.. The central footway— which is boarded— -occupies 
about one-third of the area, the other two-thirds being 
equally allotted to two ranges of neat little shops on either 
side. The roof is a rounded one, the light being admitted 
by a range of several windows between the* eave and the 
roof of the shops. The principal front is in Great Lonsdale- 
street, where two handsome two-story shops, connected by a* 
fine archway, denote the entrance. The windows render' 
it sufficiently lightsome in daytime* and a row of splendid 
chandeliers illuminate it in the evening. There was an im- 
mense run for shops at its first opening, and the novelty of 
the thing, attracted the multitude. Like many novelties,' 
however, it ceased to draw after a limited run, and from, 
being a hive of competitive traders, it became, I may say 
from end to end, the leviathan emporium of an associated 
Jewish confraternity, who have furnished it in that hetero- 
geneous fashion which constitutes one of the distinguishing- 
talents of the Israelite community — delf, dolls, pictures,- 
cigars, old clo', jewellery, toys, perfumery, bad stationery, 
infirm musical instruments, with a blank office in a central 
position, where money is advanced on title-deeds or other 
valuable property, and bills are cashed at a rate that would 
lead a novice to suppose it was the principal and not the' 
interest that was stopped in lieu of discount consideration: 1 
At the opening: I was given to understand the rate of 
lettings* guaranteed 50 per cent, interest on the outlay ; bttt 
even since its decadence I believe it yields a handsome peiv 
centage, which I feel assured will be steadily augmented a& 
the circumference of the city extends its circle; 

Parallel with the Arcade, but farther eastward, another 
stupendous establishment was fomented at the same time 
by an enterprising, ^dividual, whose powers of suasiveness 


w«re so irresistible* that he over-induced some plethoric 
capitalists to commence an enormous horse repository, which 
took TattersalTs foivits title. It was the idea of a sanguine 
mnn n who had- the funds of other parties to carry out his 
plans, ' for . -at the time,' and under the prospects, I do not' 
beliews that' an individual could be found in Victoria pos- 
sessing at once the 'capital and the assurance that it would 
fructify in such an investment. This may sound queerry, 
coming from one actually engaged at the identical time in a ' 
similar speculation, but there was this distinctive difference 
between us, that my calculations were restricted within the 
limits of 5000J., while the* other, it was well known, could 
not be completed under twelve times the amount. 

The space allotted for its site was just the double of that - 
of the Queen's Arcade — viz. 66+360 feet — the front to Great 
Lonsdale-street being entirely occupied by a large three- 
story hotel, perforated in its centre by a colossal gateway, 
which led into a covered ride, twenty feet wide the entire 
length, and terminating in a corresponding gateway at the 
ofcher extremity, where offices and a fine veterinary esta- 
blishment were erected. On either side of the ride were a 
a line of carriage-stands, with openings at given intervals, 
and inside them' the stables, alternated by tows of halter 4 
stalls and loose boxes, capable of accommodating close 
upon' two hundred horses. Over the stables were haylofts 
and granaries,' all covered by a corrugated iron roof, at an 
altitude of thirty-five feet, admirably constructed for admit- 
ting ' light ; and ventilation. At the Little Bourke-street 
end a large additional space was superadded for forges, in- 
firmaries, and harness-rooms, and when it was sufficiently 
advanced for the inspection of the public, it really impressed 
every visitor with wonder and admiration, far exceeding, in 
the spaciousness and grandeur of its arrangements, either 
Tittersall's, Lucas's, or Dycer's. 


While the minor finishing touches were going on, such as 
the painting and decorating, there was no restriction to 
admission, and it soon became the lion of the city ; crowds 
upon crowds, gentle and simple, male and female, old chum 
and lime-juicer, Britisher and foreigner, kept rolling through, 
uttering aloud their general commendations, and indulging 
in their various private speculations as to the several other 
uses to which it could be rendered applicable on emergency, 
reminding me of the critiques on the great room erected by 
the Dublin corporation in anticipation of the memorable 
visit of George IV., which became one of the special metro- 
politan sights afterwards. A humorist of the era used to 
relate that visiting it on one occasion, he observed three 
stern-looking tribunes of the people stalking around it, and 
trying the echoes in various tones, who eventually came to 
the unanimous conclusion that it would be " a magnificent 
room for a public meeting," while a musical gent, who at 
the same time had been testing its capacity for sound, 
thought equally well of it for concert purposes; shortly 
after, a troop of buoyant beautiful girls entered, and, circling 
it at a gallop, declared, in simultaneous ecstasy, "that it 
would be the most delightful of rooms for a race ball;" but 
one of a sober-looking pair of servant-girls, overcome with a 
glow of genuine admiration, formed somewhat of a different 
estimate, for she half-screamed to her companion, clapping 
her hands in rapture, " Oh, Nancy dear, wouldn't this be a 
grand loft for drying clothes ?" 

Before the bright sunburst of truly national feeling which 
broke through the clouds of British character at the wailing 
call of Crimean suffering and destitution, it used to be prac- 
tically admitted by the devotees, and remarked by the press, 
that charity was an exotic in the sea-girt isles, never appear- 
ing like a true native spirit in the moment of exigency, or 
answering to the ordinary call of supplication, but waiting, 


in a mixed mood of coquetry and coyness, to be invoked by 
the charms of music or the allurements of gastronomy before 
she appeared upon the scene. Orkney fishermen might 
starve in a dearth of herrings, Manchester operatives might 
exercise themselves in accommodating short time to short 
commons, and hereditary bondsmen raise a keen howl over 
the departed sowls of their darling praties, without moving 
the bowels of cold Charity's compassion, or getting her name 
to a subscription-list; but when benevolence came to be 
associated with a ball, a concert, or a public dinner, be- 
neficent sprites, ministering angels, and hungry philanthro- 
pists rushed forward in emulous troops to disburden them- 
selves of contributions at the ball-room door or on the dinner- 
table. Poor Lord Dudley Stuart never could have sustained 
his adopted refugees without the annual Polish ball, nor 
could the progeny of St. Patrick escape destitution if the 
yearly dinner was discontinued ; for music and mutton it is 
that opens the most tenacious hands to " melting charity." 

Another type of this strange epidemic visited Melbourne 
at the time I write about. Every undertaking was inaugu- 
rated, and all great enterprises were introduced to the public, 
through the medium of a ball. There were several which I 
need not mention, given to celebrate the openings of Pro- 
testant halls, temperance divans, and monster concert-rooms, 
but what Terpsichore had to do with stable-yards I never 
could divine or discover in the records of mythology or the 
chronicles of the Muses ; yet the proprietors of TattersalTs, 
who had already burnt their fingers in bricks and mortar, 
unanimously resolved, before they could seek reimbursement 
in the way of business, that a further Bum of immense mag- 
nitude should be expended in a ball of surpassing magnificence 
and brilliancy, and they actually went to the wanton expense 
of flooring over the entire area with grooved and tongued 
boards, lining the sides with acres of printed calico, and de- 


corating the enormouB roof with silken'flsgs*, streaming- amidst r 
ajbtilliant firmament of 'wax-lights, almost as- countless as the 
cefaafcial stars: Every appointment, everyarrangement, was 
ona scale of corresponding -sumptaoasness*; The 'governor,' 
of. course, was in attendance, and the company was as be- 
cemingly select as well could be, nor was there an* oeettt* 1 
raoBCe to mar the magnificent success of this Sardanapalian* 
festival, if I* would except the escapade of a iofc'of newly- 
aurived Jews, who attempted to introduce some casino dances 
of Holborn manufacture; but after a few sharp jostles and 
colliaians,these bejewelled BnobB were quietly disposed of by 
the master of the ceremonies/ 

I lament to say, notwithstanding this auspicious event/that " 
this magnificent establishment was an unmitigated failure 
from the commencement. A great endeavour was made to 
open it for trade with eclat and liberality, but it collapsed 
after a Bhort trial, and remains to the present day little better 
than a new ruin — a gloomy region, which, like an over-ground 
edition of the Thames Tunnel, some few people visit from 
motives of curiosity, and some fewer people still, of the out- 
side class, for the purpose of making short cuts to the haunts 
of active business. Its* want of success is certainly not ^at- 
tributable to any abatement in the requirements for stabling, 
orany falling off in the traffic of horses, but, in my mind, is 
mainly owing, like that* of the Queen's Arcade, to the re- 
moteness and inconvenience of its position. Little Bourke- 
sfcreet, on which its southern terminus abuts, is, in the 
present day, the city headnquarters of the Chinese popula- 
tion; and the chiefs of the Mongol race have offered ft large 
sum of money for the premises, as is conjectured for the 
purpose of opening a monster bazaar after* the Eastern 
fashion. Such an institution would be a novel feature in 
Melbourne, and the general expectation is that the bargain 
will' be> perfected, as it would* be better that the concern 

bied's-eye* glance at a ball. 315 

should be somehow occupied than remain in its present 
gloomy and decaying state. 

I cannot wind up this chapter more appropriately than by 
giving a bird's-eye glance at a ball given, I may say, at the 
door of my residence on the hill by the proprietor of the 
Emerald Hotel, in a large apartment just on the eve of being 
finished, and intended for an American bowling saloon. I 
turned in for an hour soon after its commencement, and was 
soon pounced upon . by some . of my lady neighbours in~ 
"Bird-cage Walk," whorerorsedthe" rules of the room/ 9 as 
regards the enlistment of partners, and involved me nra maze 
of gyrations, of .rushings and pushingsy in. which, my heavier 
metal alone saved me from serious injury; th6ugh T got Bev^ral 
severe punches between "wind and water." Gentlemen 
danced pipes in* mouth, and many of the fair -syrens carried 
their tumblers in hand,, but prudentially imbibing. their con- 
tents, like kangaroos, who pouck their ;young'oruthe. approach 
of danger. As the wind-up threatened to be a rough-and- 
tumble affair, I made my conge at an early hour ; but I heaod 
my neighbours tumbling home long after daylight. Before 
removing from the ""Walk," as a faithful chronicler^ feel 
bound to remark that the amorous urdour' of* the digging 
Lotharios cooled down sadly "by absence, for they treated 
their partners so literally with " unremitting kindness," that 
the fair creatures, after consuming their jewellery and all their 
unstained tabinets, were driven* to prey upon their pet birds, 
which were all disposed of except a "solitary magpie, who re^ 
stricted himself to the tune of "There>is'na luck about the 
house." I was forcibly reminded of the iC one step from the 
sublime to the ridiculous," as I saw those* 1 wretched girls 
trudging through the mud in broken boots and dirty muslin, 
who a few weeks before 'rolled on carriage^cushions in satin 
shoes and brocaded 'silks: 

316 life nr victoria. 


The new Residence — The Manage— Oar Doctor Neighbour— His Signboard 
— The Fate of my Pise* Speculation — Cast about for a new Calling — Ame- 
rican Merchants and Yankee Notions— Sour Flour — Tombstones — Down 
East Champagne — Dangers attending American Champagne — Speculate 
in a Lot of unredeemed Passengers' Luggage— Good Fortune — Trade with 
a German Jew — His Grievous Disappointment— His Torture— His inge- 
nious Device — Watches of that Day in Victoria — The Union Hotel 
started — The Style of Management — The Triumph of the French Cuisine 
— Immense Income — The Drawbacks— The main Cause of its Failure — 
Jealousy of Old Chum Bank Directors — Irish Jews the worst of the 
Species — The Criterion Hotel — Its elaborate Finish in every Department — 
Great Gymnastic Skill of its Barmen — Its numerous Appurtenances — The 
Mode of Living there — A Digger's Apostrophe to a would-be Swell — The 
4th of July at the Criterion — Yankee Orators — Poets and Speechifiers — 
Criterion goes down as the American Tide goes out — The Rush to Peru. 

I said in my last chapter I was about removing from 
"Bird-cage "Walk," and, as well as I can recollect, within a 
week from the day of the Emerald Hill ball, I was esta- 
blished in the new solitary house I have so often before 
alluded to. I took it, as the phrase goes, "on my own 
hook," but made a sort of sub-letting arrangement with the 

"W ds, which induced them to undertake the management 

of the household, occupying by themselves some rooms apart 
at the rear, while three professional friends came to live 
with me in the front. "We made ourselves exceedingly com- 
fortable as the times went. Each furnished his own room 
according to his own fancy ; and while we paid a weekly 
sum to the " W ds for board of the best description, in- 


eluding " the delicacies of the season," I looked after the 
fluids, which I selected with care, and levied for pro rata. I 
well remember purchasing bottled ale and porter, which 
readily fetched by wholesale 22s. per dozen at my arrival, 
for 14s. the single case, and excellent Ch&teau Margaux for 
12s. (taking a dozen cases), which could not be put free on 
board at Bordeaux for double the sum. 

Fish, at the end of 1853, also became comparatively abun- 
dant, and vegetables were luxuries in which moderate men 
could rationally indulge on feast days about the same period. 
So that, with the exception of fowl, which still soared in 
the seventh heaven of exorbitance, we managed to " rough it" 
rather comfortably, seeing a few choice guests now and then, 
who wondered at our excellent management. Being at a 
distance from the throng, we indulged in our ease of even- 
ings, and, crowned in Albanian or Turkish caps and pic- 
turesque dressing-gowns, we lolled in our verandah, or 
stretched on the green sward, sipping our coffee or swilling 
our claret. For some time we were suffered to revel unob- 
served in this species of luxurious indolence of evenings, but 
after a while the fame of our circle spread abroad, and young 
ladies' from the neighbouring " hill" shaped their twilight 
strolls in the direction of our residence, declaring that it 
commanded " the most delicious view of the bay ;" to the very 
evident disgust of the envious young gentlemen accompany- 
ing them, who met the assertion with unceremonious contra- 
dictions, twirling their moustaches fiercely at our unoffend- 
ing party, as if they intended spitting us on their pointed 

* "Without pretending to assign a cause for the movement, 
I have to remark that within two weeks after our settlement 
we began to attract a circle of residents around us ; first a 
tent or two, then over a dozen of weatherboarded houses. 


aad before.. they were .finished, and occupied, another batch 
wer&.commenoed. . Our .neighbours were, not of; the .most 
recherche* order,, and the' proprietors of, the circumjacent 
property determined on squeezing- the. .utmost penny out. of 
the .land, by crushing the„. new comer a within a. system of 
narrow lanes .and. alleys, intowhich. the sun. could only peep 
at its meridian, or the wind nexer. thought of entering ex- 
cept in its .most vagrant humour. ;We derived some slight 
consolation. Scorn the neighbourhood of a medical man, who 
was. an agreeable man^and as such had the; entree of our 
establishment, but,, like ourselves, he was disappointed and 
disgusted at the prospect growing. up.around us. We were 
all. infinitely amused one evening, after returning. from town, 
on reading a flaming signboard, tucked up to the. gable of 
his house, which he: intended should. announce his calling to 
the neighbourhood.. as " Surgeon . and accoucheur," giving 
verbal orders to that effect to a local artist whom he. em- 
ployed. . But, lo and behold ! on the evening in question,. as 
the antipodean Consegio was waiting for commendation and 
payment, . he was. astonished . at . seeing us .all go ; off into con- 
vulsive fits of laughter as we contemplated his masterpiece, 
on which., he described < our professional, friend as "Surgeon 
and auctioneer,'! giving-,. aa.his .excuse,.. his positive assurance 
that the hammer was quite as. respectable and .profitable an 
instrument as the forceps. 

. My pise project went on. admirably .during.. the. interval 
sinca my last allusion to it ; so much. so r that I put on the 
roofing timbers and finished off one end. in imitation of cut 
stone and cornice, to show the degree of perfection to which 
it could be carried. . However,.. about this. time I. began to 
hear some whispers about defective. title., to the. land,, which 
induced me to take. a. legal opinion on* the. construction of 


the mil. from which the trustees .derived their ^powers, i The 
opinion, was^decidedly unfavourable, and, I was consequently- 
advised to pause in my expenditure until the arrival of: the 
instructions, from. England. . Meantime, one of our hoi wind 
visitations was followed by*a. torrent of rain, which continued 
falling without intermission for. twenty hours, submerging 
all the lower grounds about Melbourne completely. I -weat 
naturally to visit my works, now all two story highland not 
yet properly tied witk rafters or flooringrbeams. But they 
showed, no symptom . of -, suffering. The . same . night, how- 
ever, a frightful storm arose, which blew down several new 
buildings in. Melbourne. and.Collingwood, prostrating, too, 
an all but finished church at Richmond. I crossed over 
from the hill with very natural apprehension, but was re- 
joiced to find my works. all . standing. ' However, when the 
flood receded, I saw the. force of Mr. Latrobe's suggestion, 
for it was quite. evident, that, the base, of the walla had been 
affected by the water. 

It would have been. an undertaking of considerable diffi- 
culty and very, great, expense to undermine and shore up the 
walls, which, if relieved at the time, could have been all saved 
and perfectly secured; but in. consideration of. the outlay, 
taken, in connexion* with . the insecurity of my tenure, . I left 
them, to their .£ate until I could get. assurance, one way or 
the other ; and while solid mason work in other quarters, had .razed to tha ground from its tottering state, the pise* 
stood uprightfor soma time. At length, after. aBother storm 
of wind and. rain, it began to resemble in some places the 
celebrated, Campanile,, or Leaning Tower of Pisa, and the 
followiag.mail. bringing intelligence "that the trustees had 
no. authority to demise,", having only, poweara to sell outright, 
I was obliged to abandon, the . project which had swallowed 


up such sums of money, and before the end of the following 
winter, "like the baseless fabric of a vision, there was not a 
rack behind." 

I did not, however, sit down to sigh and mope over the 
calamity; on the contrary, I took a cast in quest of some 
other employment or occupation pending the commence- 
ment of my book, and, by way of an interlude, I thought of 
trying my hand at some stroke of trading business. Seeing 
that barristers, doctors, and natural philosophers did not 
consider it infra dig. to add to their incomes by little trading 
" specs," I became reconciled to the resolution of trying to 
get back some of my piBe outlay by a respectable effort at 
peddling, as it was a pop beyond my ability to go into the 
mercantile line under the auspices of a store and counting- 
house. A sanguine acquaintance to whom I mentioned my 
intentions came down promptly with the recommendation 
of a " commission agency," as a vocation that would suit me 
to a certainty. " Look at the legion of muffs," he remarked, 
" who are living like fighting-cocks at the business. If you, 
with your experience, could not go to windward of the lot, I 
don't know you, that's all." 

I felt, or pretended to feel, nattered at what was, no 
doubt, intended as good and complimentary advice, but with 
all my small talent for observation, I never acquired any 
proficiency in angering butter, probing bacon, sampling 
brandies, sorting sugars, or tasting cheeses. I was equally 
dull about flours, unable to distinguish between the G-allego, 
Chilium, or Adelaide articles in the absenee of the brands ; 
nor could I hazard a guess, in the raw state, between congo 
and bohea, mocha or Java. Even in the more familia r ex- 
tracts, which came within the category of whiskies, I did not 
pretend to any delicacy of judgment without the agency of 
hot water and sugar. So that, with all the proverbial assu- 


ranee of my country, I was obliged to avow my incapacity for 
that favourite line of occupation, expressing a doubt, at the 
same time, that the flourishing condition of the numerous 
gentlemen engaged in it was altogether dependent on the 
bare margin of their commissions. 

I had recourse to my friend L n before coming to a 

definite determination; for, besides being a long-headed 
fellow, he had the personal experience of some months in 
trading and store-keeping. After a close chat, I became im- 
pressed with the conviction that even small trading— over- 
done in every department— was in a rotten and fictitious 
state just then, and I therefore made up my mind to be very 
cautious even in the narrow sphere of my transactions ; for, 
like small craft, I was obliged to cruise close in shore, leav- 
ing the " vasty deep" to be navigated by vessels of large 
tonnage. Mr. L n, although possessing abundant capi- 
tal, had given up all speculation, confining himself solely to 
storing goods for importers, not one in a hundred of whom 
at the time had stores of his own. He got a large Ameri- 
can connexion, and certainly his premises presented a most, 
curious and endless variety of Yankee notions, many neat 
and ingenious in their way, but evidently got up for sale- 
rather than utility, and evidently unsuited in their general 
style to the sturdy taste and genius of * the Bull family, for,, 
out of the interminable assortment which they brought into 
the market for diggings consumption, I think the only im- 
plement which came quickly into general use, and still main- 
tains its ground, is the American axe. There may have been 
some little knick-knackeries, like twig brooms and nests of 
frail tubs, which, for the want of better articles, got into 
temporary domestic use, but, as they say themselves, "Ame- 
rican fixins wouldn't go down nohow;" in broad proof of 
which, I may adduce the fact that, as a rule, the great 

TOL. I. x 


American houses did not take root in Melbourne. There 
are, to be sure, a few exceptions, but, on the whole, Yankee 
enterprise doe£ not seem to thrive or go ahead in Victoria. 
The world-famous express house of Adams and Co. tried 
hard to secure a footing, but withdrew after a hard struggle. 
C — d — 11 and T— — n, representing a first-class Boston 
house, followed their example ; and, if I deemed it necessary 
in support of my assertion, I could enumerate a long list of 
similar retreats. 

Like the ports circling the shores of the Indian and 
Pacific Oceans, all these of the western hemisphere were 
swept clean of the accumulated refuse of years and crowded 
into Hobson's Bay; and I sometimes spent a wondering 
half-hour at Coles's or Baleigh's wharf in watching the dis- 
charge of lighters from the Yankee clippers, speculating on 
the possible uses to which many strange and fantastic articles 
could be applied, and listening to the outlandish guesses of 
the amazed wharf porters. Some flour came in for a season 
in thousands of tons, and was purchased at a nominal price 
by the local millers, who piled it in mountains in their open 
yards (at least one whom I could name did), dressing it off 
by degrees with sound Chilian brans, or grinding it up in 
large proportions with fine South Australian wheat, and 
getting 401. and 501. for this compound poison, the larger 
ingredient in which stood them little over one shilling in the 
pound. An appropriate sequence to these flour speculations, 
and in due conformity with the doctrine of cause and effect, 
came a large importation of tombstones, of different sizes 
and shapes, some perfectly plain, others with rough emble- 
matic headings, capable of being intensified in ghastHness 
according to the taste of the purchaser, and a large propor- 
tion with skeleton inscriptions — "Sacred to the memory 
of* , who departed this life on 


This tablet is erected by . Bequiescat 

in pace" — from a prescient conviction that the rates of 
engraving in Victoria would impress even the most frantic 
mourners with impulses of economy. As a relief from these 
lugubrious reflections, I will mention another article of 
Yankee importation to the colony, w which," they said, 
" went off like all creation" in California. This was cham- 
pagne of New England manufacture, and I can swear it 

" went off" in Mr. L n's store like the Malakoff battery 

in its fiercest mood. It was an infernal aerated chemical 
preparation, forced under high-pressure power into bottles 
externally resembling those containing the genuine wine, 
but made fully twice as thick and as heavy, in order to resist 
the tremendous force of the explosive fluid, which was corked 
and fastened in with wires thick enough for an electric 
telegraph. The first banging explosion, Mr. L f . u n told 
me, caused infinite alarm, as the thick flint splinters rattled 
like those of a shell against the iron roof of the store ; and 
others followed in such quick succession, the men were 
obliged to prostrate themselves to save their lives, for a 
direct wound would no doubt have been fatal. Taking ad- 
vantage, however, of the first lull, they heaped bags of bran 
and corn over this American luxury, which should have been 
properly stored in a bomb-proof magazine. 

I happened to look in after the danger was thus guarded 
against, but I heard many muffled reports, like the subter- 
raneous rumbling of an earthquake. Mr. L n sent 

his clerk to the importers, peremptorily demanding the in- 
stant removal of this sparkling beverage ; but the cool 
response of these parties was, " to throw it out"~a per- 
mission which, like the resolution of " belling the cat," was 
found difficult of carrying into effect, from the extreme 
danger attending it. An enterprising Irish drayman, how- 




ever, was at length found to take the contract of removal to 
the usual depository, which I have before alluded to. He 
was tolerably fortunate in the earlier part of his task, but as 
he turned off his load rudely a series of explosions, resem- 
bling platoon firing, followed, which caused his horse to run 
off and upset the cart, while Fat blasphemed all " 'Merican 
shampayne" with as much devotion as the devil is said to 
anathematise holy water. 

By way of trying my 'prentice hand in dealing, I attended 
some sales in the principal auction rooms. I recollect I 
purchased a lot of the superfluous outfit of T — d — n 
H — d — s ; amongst other things, a portable forge, a lot of 
fishing-nets, a canteen, a lot of saddlery, and other miscel- 
laneous articles, all of the very best manufacture. I bid for 
them on this account, and also because, from some unac- 
countable reason, there was very little competition. The 
forge and the fishing -nets (both new in the colony) I sold 
within a few days at a profit of over one thousand per cent., 
and I also realised a large profit on the other articles. 
Stimulated like a young tiger by the taste of blood, I in- 
creased my scale of operations, and in a day or two after 
bought at auction a lot of passengers' luggage, sold for non- 
payment of store rent. It was about the earliest sale of the 
sort in the colony, and attracted only a small attendance, 
the impression of course being that the owners considered 
the packages valueless, else they would not suffer them to be 
sacrificed. I happened to turn into the third-class auction 
room, where the sale came off, by mere accident, but seeing 
a pile of luggage going — going — gone— for a bagatelle that 
would scarcely buy the empty trunks and boxes, I became 
the purchaser for 22Z. 10s. 

There were fifty-three packages, large and small, in all, 
and as the business of the day was soon after concluded, I 



proceeded to open a few and see what Providence had sent me. 
The first two contained nothing beyond some coarse, com- 
mon-place clothing, very little worn ; more than sufficient, 
however, to redeem their proportion of the purchase-money. 
But in the third, the first thing that presented itself was a 
roll of clean flannel, containing one dozen and a half of silver 
spoons and ten silver forks, and immediately underneath a 
salver, soup-ladle, and a small silver cruet. There was then a 
layer of excellent new shirts and stockings, and beneath all, 
embedded in the folds of a blanket, a very neat leather 
writing-case, with a card plate and & parcel of visiting cards 
amongst papers and letters, and a gold pencil-case, two rings, 
and a handsome seal in the secret drawers. The contents of 
this single trunk alone was worth more, twice told, than the 
sum I paid for the entire lot. 

"It never rains but it pours," so in the next trunk, 
amongst some first-class wearing apparel, I found a rosewood 
box — a cross between a gentleman's dressing-case and a 
lady's work-box — which contained a miniature of a lady of 
the middle age, very good-looking, of foreign aspect ; the 
picture was elegantly finished, and set in a slight gold frame. 
The box also contained a silver and gold watch, both by 
Dent ; the latter a case hunting- watch, fully jewelled. This 
was too much for the numerous descendants of Moses by 
whom I was surrounded, and who were eagerly watching my 
proceedings, muttering curses on their own bad luck in the 
inverse ratio to my good fortune, as they saw with their own 
appreciating eyes that in two boxes alone. I got property 
considerably over the value of 100Z., and four only had been 
opened out of the entire lot. 

As I commenced forcing the next one — a substantial, well- 
secured box — I saw that the Jewish excitement was rapidly 
increasing, and I also overheard the delivery of a commission 


to one of the brethren to make me a bid for the remainder. 
I could not catch the amount, but the arum he offered was 
102., to which I replied by a mocking laugh, and was pro* 
ceeding with my mallet and ripping chisel to unmask the 
hidden treasure, when I heard an advance from the rear of 
51. I was deaf as a post, and hammered away under a rapid 
succession of advances, which brought the bidding up to 
70/., without recovering my hearing. But as I commenced 
prizing up the lid, a man rushed forward wildly, ad if ho 
held a reprieve staying an impending execution, and ar- 
rested my band, exclaiming, in a broken* breathless manner, 
" Oh mine Got ! you are von hard man mid your boxen— I 
vill give you von bunder for dem." A moment's reflection 
caused me to entertain the offer. It was too good a hedge 
to decline, and as I never was an especial favourite of Dame 
Fortune's, I said, " Done with you," to my German tempter, 
who seemed overpowered with this avalanche of luck, as he 
sat down on the half-gaping box, wiping away the globules 
of glistening joy from his brow with the cuff of his surtout* 
He beamed with all the pride of a monarch sitting in triumph 
on a newly-won throne, and seemed so abstracted running 
up, aS it were, in his mind's eye the incalculable treasure he 
was master" of, that I found some difficulty in reminding 
him that he had not handed me over " the von hunder 

When this was arranged, and he had come somewhat to 
himself) he was urged incessantly and importunately to 
inspect the bos, and then offered a premium of 5Z« for his 
bargain, which he declined. However, what he would not 
grant to solicitation, he yielded to his own burning suspense 
and curiosity, raising the lid with a very nervous hand. The 
precious contents were overlaid by a frousy counterpane, 
folded so as to adapt itself exactly to the opening, and on 


removing it there was disclosed to the enraptured view the 
tools, trees, lasts, and lapstones, &c. &c, of a journeyman 
shoemaker, the smaller implements being wrapped up and 
tied with wax-end in a leather apron that had seen some 
service. The disclosure provoked a demoniacal laugh, in 
which my customer made a most ghastly effort to join, 
assailed, at the same time, by a tempest of ironical bids for 
" his precious stones." 

Speculation now gave way to a spirit of fun and banter; 
however, after a considerable lapse, and under the mollifying 
influence of a copious shout of brandy, which a unanimous 
verdict of bystanders pronounced me " in honour bound to 
give," the now tremulous German commenced opening an- 
other package, which proved a " worser," being filled with 
an. amount of stuff more provoking than all the evils in 
Pandora's box, without a rag of hope at the bottom. It 
contained an ill-assorted small set of second-hand kitchen 
utensils, stowed away with all thej care, but not quite the 
neatness, of a bran-new set of surgical implements, the un- 
avoidable spaces or vacancies being packed with dirty rubbers 
or filthy dish-clouts, neither sightly nor savoury. I am 
utterly at a loss to furnish any type of the savage disappoint- 
ment evidenced by this unlucky speculator ; the old one, of 
a tigress robbed of her cubs, would not be strictly analogous, 
nor am I satisfied with the hyaena balked of his chunk of 
meat— -Shylock's rage would suit, if it did not emanate from 
thwarted revenge — so that I must content myself with the 
poor figure of a greedy Jew let into a bottomless bargain. He 
writhed like an eel on a gridiron under the unmerciful taunts 
of his brethren, ever and anon darting a terrible look of 
searching scrutiny at me, to try and discover whether I 
had " planted" him or not ; and after a purgatorial ordeal of 
bantering, he summoned up resolution to hire a dray, on 


which he removed his newly-acquired goods to his own 

After a lapse of some weeks I met my German friend, 
who, instead of approaching me with an air of hostility, 
greeted me in tones of smiling cordiality, relating in detail 
how he managed in his trying circumstances. In the whole 
lot — with one exception, on which he was sternly silent — 
there was nothing, he assured me, more attractive or valu- 
able than ordinary wearing apparel ; but he managed, never- 
theless, to extract a good return, and more than reimburse 
himself, by an artful dodge of a truly Mosaic character — one 
eminently worthy of the exhaustless resources of Caucasian 
brains where place or profit is in prospect. 

He informed me that he repacked the boxes and cases, 
separating them into divers and sundry small lots, and sent 
them to a leading auction mart, advertising them conspicu- 
ously as " unredeemed passengers' luggage, to be sold piece- 
meal, without reserve or guarantee," taking care, at the same 
time, to impart to them an air of travelled antiquity. He 
put in a majority of them small articles of plated ware of 
little value, which eager bidders took for granted^ were 
genuine silver, being brought such a distance, but as there 
was no delivery until after the conclusion of the sale, detec- 
tion waB impossible. He described gleefully to me how he 
got off several worthless silver watches by wrapping them 
carefully up in jeweller's wool and chamois leather bags, 
labelling one, " The Gift of a fond Mother to her darling 
Son ;" another, " From Fanny to her adored Charles." Some 
he embalmed in Scriptural quotations for evangelical bidders, 
which, in his disjointed jargon, he described as " the von 
dam better an all plans. He try potry too, but no goot, no 
poit in Australy." Altogether, he admitted that he more 
than cleared himself by the speculation by the watch trick 


alone, for in 1853 watches were scarce and excessively dear, 
those in the market being little better than the historical 
timepiece of Brian O'Linn, of which the traditional song of 
poor Tyrone Power relates : 

Brian O'Linn had no watch to put on, 
So he scooped him a turnip to make him a one ; 
He popped a live cricket right under the skin — 
Faith, they'll think it is ticking, says Brian O'Linn. 

And truly most of the watches of that day in the hands of 
the trade did very little more than tick. Nor was it unrea- 
sonable, on the part of the bidders in question, to imagine 
that they were more likely to procure good going watches 
from amongst parcels of maternal, paternal, and true lovers' 
gifts, than from the window-hooks of speculative traders. 

Amongst the rapid advances which Melbourne made about 
this time in its emergence from the nomad state, I would be 
sadly wanting in all grateful and gratifying reminiscences if 
I neglected making favourable mention of two magnificent 
hotels, "The Union" and "The Criterion," which were 
started about the same time, the first by our courageous 
and enterprising countryman, T — d — n H — d — s, altogether 

on his own hook, the other by a Mr. M ss, a travelled 

Yankee, who was taken by the hand and put forward by a 
small company of Melbourne capitalists, some of whom, 
although retired publicans, were weak enough to be ashamed 
of being ostensibly connected with hotel management. Not 
so, however, Mr. H — d — s, who, descended of an old family, 
noble in everything but the conventional christening, cradled 
in the lap of luxury, the familiar associate of the elite of the 
land, and long a member of " the first assembly of gentle- 
men in the world," forgot all false and foolish pride when he 
once made up his mind to embark in the speculation. He not 
only acknowledged himself the proprietor of the establish- 


ment, but, like an hereditary Boniface, he was always 
bustling about to see that his patrons and customers were 
properly served and obligingly attended. A profound judge 
himself of everything constituting excellence in hotel ma- 
nagement, he introduced all the luxurious articles of modern, 
upholstery, and was the precursor apostle of the French 
cuisine in the Australian continent, having carried with him 
from Paris the chef of one of the greatest gourmands of the 
day, Lord Henry S— y— r, to whom, I was given to under- 
stand, he paid the exorbitant sum of three guineas per day. 
The establishment, in all its departments, was conducted 
with a degree of care and sutnptuousness which, considering 
and contrasted with all previous efforts iathat line, rendered 
it really and justly famous. The suites of rooms were grand, 
the attendance beyond all praise. The spacious salle a manger 
was thronged in its centre, and crammed in all its corners, at 
breakfast, luncheon, dinner, and supper. Every seat at the 
table d'hdte was engaged doaens deep in advance, and every 
private room and cabinet had its party or its vis-a-vis. 
Vulgar viands were eschewed by common consent. Julienne 
soup and potage a la reine superseded ox-tail and mutton 
broth ; fricasees, vols-au-vent, and salmis de perdreaux cut 
out legs of mutton, sirloins of beef, and overgrown hams j 
while plum-pudding, together with apple-pie and cheese- 
cake, ignominionsly retreated before the irresistible advances 
of omelette soufflee and truffes au vin de champagne. The 
fluid revolution was no less extraordinary : the familiar foam 
of Guinness's stout or Bass's pale ale was- regarded as an 
abomination, and the man would be little short of a hero 
who possessed sufficient moral courage to initiate his pota- 
tions with anything short of champagne or sparkling Moselle, 
or who would subside into any still drinks that could be 
considered derogatory to their precursors ; brandy-smashers, 


gin*slings, sherry-cobblers, cocktails, spiders, thunder-and- 
ligbtning, phlegm-cutters, eye-openers, singarees, being only 
admissible at the bar or in the great room with the orchestra 
at the end, which filled every night with musical devotees, 
who applauded every performance in fresh nobblers. 

Every one prophesied a rapid and leviathan fortune to the 
brave entrepreneur, for money flowed in in torrents in every 
channel ; but the expenses were incalculable, for, independent 
of the enormous rent and the interest on the outlay, the 
amount swallowed up by the countless staff of overseers, 
clerks, and servants, was something too big for utterance or 
mention \ and the positive impossibility of instituting a 
system of effective check on the numerous money-takers, who 
grew tip in excess of all anticipate calculation, operated 
seriously against the absolute success of the enterprise. It 
would) however, have succeeded, in the face of all these 
drawbacks, only for the great original gangrene, which I have 
not yet alluded to, and to which I will, with my reader's 
leave, now advert to in the briefest possible way. 

Mr. H— d— s (as I heard, and have reason to know) went 
into the business under the impression that the capital which 
he possessed would have been amply sufficient to carry it on, 
without being obliged to resort for accommodation to either 
bank or individual in any shape or way. It is not difficult, 
however, to suppose that a man, previously unacquainted 
with the details of business, should have erred in his calcula- 
tions, particularly in Victoria, where no previous standard or 
estimate could be at all applied with correctness in any de- 
partment of trade. The moment Mr. H— d— s became con*- 
scions of his difficulty he went direct, in a straightforward 
and aboveboard manner, to his bankers, and candidly placed 
before the directors his embarrassments, but as he satisfied 
them that the project was certain to be a most lucrative one. 


they gave Him the " cash credit" he required, and he went his 
way, rejoicing in the undeniable certainty of acquiring a rapid 
fortune, and shaping his transactions in accordance with the 
monetary facilities which, according to all the laws of mer- 
cantile honour, in the European acceptation of the term, he 
was justified in reckoning on. But lo and behold ! when the 
first heavy gale of payments came round, the " credit," with- 
out any previous intimation, was refused, and Mr. H — d — e 
was driven into the tender mercies of a set of blood-sucking 
vampires, the principal and most relentless of whom was an 
Irish spirit dealer, who germinated in unenviable fame in his 
native land, but came out to blossom and bear fruit in the 
penal colony. And here let me say, of all Jews (usurers) 
save me from an Irish Jew. When once Paddy is inoculated 
with the virus of Moses, he out-Herods all creation in his 
lust and relentlessness. Thank God, for the honour of 
fatherland, Irish Jews are nearly as rare there as red-headed 
negroes, for when once they adopt the creed they find the 
Green Isle too hot to hold them — as a rule. 

If I must explain why the " credit" was refused, I must 
tell an unpleasant but undeniable truth — viz. that it resulted 
from jealousy and unjustness of old chum feeling. The old 
chum regarded every new comer as an interloper, come to 
poach upon his especial manor, to pick up profits which he 
considered a colonial royalty. He hated him in advance for 
his prospective success, and regarded him with a deadly envy 
from the marked contrast which he presented between Aus- 
tralian coarseness and British polish, never omitting an 
opportunity of treating him, when he dare, with rude slight, 
or doing him, when he could, a covert injury. In 1853, all 
bank directors in Victoria were old ehums; and with this 
statement I will leave my readers to guess the cause of 
Mr. T — d — n H— d — s's treatment, reserving to myself, for 


another opportunity, some further observation on banks, 
banking, and bank directors. 

The Criterion, in Great Collins-street, flourished contempo- 
raneously with the Union, and was conducted with a degree 
of enterprise and supervision beyond all pigise. If it was a 
few shades behind the Union in the excellence of its cuisine, 
it as certainly outstripped it in other respects ; and as Mr. 

M 88 sailed from the United States, it became the great 

Yankee rendezvous. The principal bar was a positive sight to 
parties who had never had an opportunity of seeing one in the 
free and enlightened republic, being strictly modelled on the 
native principle : the grand mirrors, the imposing decanters, 
the arrangements of the various manufacturing and potatory 
implements, the marble counter, the monster claret-cup bowl, 
and though last, not least, the. row of undeniable-looking 
down Easters, in snow-white shirts and pointed beards, who 
picked your order from inside your teeth, and had an un- 
deniable " cock-tail" under your nose before your lips had 
finished its utterance. I saw some choice artists in the 
Aster and Jenny Houses in New York, and at the Eiviere and 
Trement in Boston ; but, to my mind, I never saw anything 
to compare with the sleight of hand, the gymnastic skill of the 
group behind the bar at the Criterion, in Melbourne. The 
rapid way in which they would range a string of tumblers 
from hand to elbow-bend, filling them all at the same time 
out of different cocks, and flinging them to different cus- 
tomers, without spilling a drop, was a sight in itself, not to 
mention the magical manner in which they described arched 
brandy bows, ceiling high, from tumbler to tumbler, without 
a spatter, manufacturing multifarious compounds with one 
hand and counting out change with the other, dashing plain 
nobblers and whisky drinks, ales and Old Toms about with a 
reckless indifference, as if glass was cast-iron, and fluids 


never lost their centre of gravity. I am told that the late 
Emperor Nicholas was lost in amazement at witnessing the 
astonishing manipulation of the children in the cartridge 
manufactory at Woolwich ; hut if he had got a peep at the 
Yankee blades §t the Criterion, he never would haw found 
himself again. 

Mr. M— -88 had attached to the hotel a grand, lofty 
Grecian hall, of noble dimensions, most elegantly fitted up as 
a billiard saloon, with two of Thurston's nrat»claas tables, and 
all the modern appliances and appurtenances of the game, 
presenting a tout-ensemble I never before saw equalled in 
any billiard-room. Adjoining this there was a hair-cutting **- 
loon, furnished in that style of elaborate comfort and luxury 
peculiar to those establishments in the United States ; mid 
connected with it was the bath house, where hot, cold, 
vapour, or shower baths could be had at a moment's notice, 
at a price altogether reasonable, all things considered. There 
was also a magnificent American bowling saloon, which was 
for a while very well patronised. But the most remarkable 
feature of the multiplicious concern was a pretty ornate 
little vaudeville theatre, capable of containing an audience of 
five hundred, which was tolerably well supported for a time, 
and would have been continuously sustained if a suitable 
company could have been secured ; but it soon lapsed into a 
concert-room, and then became the head-quarters, for a con- 
siderable time, of Eainer'a celebrated troop of Ethiopian 

Like the Union, the Criterion was filled in every room and 
seat at meal times, and British cookery, expelled to make 
way for the gustatory novelties and sophistries of the Soyer 
school, was sent to hunt in couples with vulgar balf-aud-bftlf 
or whisky-toddy, for at the unique private bar, whiab, like a 
casket, was set in a nook of the grand refreshment-room, it 
would have savoured of desecration to draw any other than a 

fast Yomra mejt. 335 

long cork, and a white-jacketed waiter, I fancy, would have 
left you long enough waiting for your cutlet a la Maintenon 
if you sent him on an errand for " spirituous or fermented 
liquors." To some— indeed to most of habitual company — 
the bill of fare was a sealed document, as incomprehensible 
as the prescriptions of Dr. S. &■» .. , which have to come to 
his own shop for compounding. Many a hundred daily gave 
their orders by finger indications, and had up dishes which 
they got through as if they were so many tinctures ; while 
several of those who rehearsed their orders, so far as pro- 
nunciation was concerned, made curious mistakes in the 
meaning. Fast young men, who, previous to their exile, 
acquired French under the auspices of excursion tickets, 
swaggered in with an affectation of aplomb, calling aloud, 
in the language of alternation, " Garcon, give me the carte," 
which I remember on one occasion provoked a ludicrous 
commentary from an elevated digger at the next table, who 
really conceiving, I suppose, that the two-wheeled vehicle 
was what he asked for, " reminded bis ■ eyes that he was 
up-stairs, and if he wanted his cart, to go down and get 
it himself, and be jolly well — into the bargain, the 
ill-mannered cub, who didn't know decency when he met it." 
The Criterion was the great gathering-place for cousin 
Jonathan on the 4th of July. During Mr. M ■ o s's lessee- 
ship, that memorable day was always ushered in by the 
thrusting of a jurymast through a skylight in the roof, to 
sustain the broad American flag, and the projection of 
horizontal yards from the front windows to display miniature 
editions of the star-spangled banner. The earliest blink of 
the Bun was sure to discover knots of the calculating citizens 
waiting for daylight to " realise" the effect of their nocturnal 
labours ; and as they moved off in ecstasies of tobacco-juice 
to "fix themselves for the day," they were succeeded by 
groups of their angular brethren, in full evening dress, as 


smooth and glossy as if they had just passed through the 
mangle. By breakfast-time all the local Yankees, including 
the consul, had paid their devoirs at the bar, swilling 
" phlegm-cutters " to the glory and greatness of the stars 
and stripes ; and, I will do them the justice to say, prescrib- 
ing gratuitous drinks to the citizens of all countries who 
happened to pass within greeting distance. 

But the grand feature of the day alwayB is the " celebra- 
tion dinner," to which the governor, with the leading autho- 
rities and the principal inhabitants, are invited, to hear the 
orator read through his nose a most studiously elaborated 
exaggeration of the past heroism and the future pre-eminence 
of the almighty republic ; to listen to the poet reciting from 
bad manuscript a Hiawatha farrago of point-blank verse in 
celebration of all those political virtues and. social magnani- 
mities which they practise in imagination ; and, worse than 
all, to be nauseated with the impertinent trash of three 
hundred and sixty-four days' preparation and polysyllabic 
composition, which embryo presidents stuff themselves with, 
and pull out by theyard as a Chinese juggler would so much 
dirty ribbon, without seeming to bestow a thought as to how 
their guests may be entertained or disgusted. 

It would appear that the Criterion owed its great run of 
prosperity to American patronage, for when the Peruvian 
swindle* took off nearly three-fourths of the Yankee in- 
habitants, it was a general remark that the hotel was sud- 
denly struck with a blight, which eventuated in the abscond- 
ing of the proprietor and the entree of a new lessee. 

* The Peruvian swindle was an industriously circulated Yankee report 
that gold in enormous quantities was discovered at the head waters of the 
Amazon. The consequence was an immense American exodus there, by 
which some Yankee shipping speculators reaped prodigious profits, — char- 
tering ships to Callao for guano, and getting full passenger freights for 
months together. 



Our House and our Neighbours — The Fly Nuisance — Its Disagreeabilities 
in Private and Public — In City and Diggings — Its Decrease — Politics 
and the chief Actors — Orange and Green — The Council Chamber — The 
Squatters and their preposterous Demands — The natural Consequences — 
The Ministry and the Opposition — A few rough Personal Sketches — The 
New Constitution — Extraordinary Agitation in the Gold-fields — Contrast 
in the Towns and Cities— Extreme Regularity of Night Fires— That of Mr. 
C — ss — 's in Flinders- lane — Overflowing Attendance — Free Discussions 
on the Cause — Calculations on the Besult — Professor Sands 1 perspicuous 
Bemark — Turn my Attention to an entirely new Project — Its Nature- 
Approved by the Chamber of Commerce — How it was treated by the 
Committee of Adjudication — Their Decision anticipated — The scandalous 
Conduct explained and accounted for — A fresh Version of the Old Chum 
Jealousy — A Ship-canal from Melbourne to the Bay still wanting — 
Would be a most lucrative Project 

Oub house on the hill, per se, went on admirably all this 
time. We were as jolly aB sand-boys, and had more than 
our share of colonial enjoyments so far as the household was 
concerned, but out of doors we were hemmed in by squalor 
and nuisances. Our now numerous neighbours (the ejected 
of Canvas Town, which about that time was erased from the 
map of the world) did not stand punctiliously on nice dis- 
tinctions. They stretched their clothes-lines across the street, 
uncaring for the inconvenience in daytime or the danger 
at night to the passers-by. The front and the back doors 
were treated with strict impartiality in the ejection of slops 
and nuisances, which in no wise tended to the tidiness of the 
streets ; added to which, the ordure of a herd of cows, which 

TOL. i. z 


came borne to be fed and milked, along tbe narrow footpaths, 
brought it to as bad a pass as tbe most stinking and dan- 
gerous thoroughfares described by M. Hue in his Tartar 

The fly nuisance in the summer of 1853 was something 
akin to a plague. They abounded in million myriads every- 
where ; they almost darkened the air, and were so unbear- 
ably saucy and obtrusive that many people armed themselves 
with what they called horse-tail twigs to thrash them away. 
But thrash away until your arm ached, and switch thousands 
upon thousands into pieces* the moment you paused, fresh 
legions, as if incensed at your brutality, swarmed upon you 
in buzzing : viciouaness, straddling over each other's backs in 
their anxiety to have revenge, the more daring forcing their 
way up your nostrils and into the comers of youixmouth and 
eyes. All shops: seemed alive with them* especially butchers' 
shops; and when a hanging.quarter of beef was. disturbed on 
the hooks to cut out a. roasting rib or a sirloin^, the insect 
uproar which ensued was positively startling';, the displaced 
swarm, all the other carcases being preoccupied, following 
their prey to the block in a stunning hum of determination, 
and going down in their blind fury almost side by side with 
the knife in the incision, sometimes seizing on a florid rump* 
steak, as if they would wrest it off the plate of the customer. 
Grocers,' shops, too, were frightfully infested, for: treacle is- 
one of their greatest weaknesses. What gold-dust is to the 
digger, molasses is to the fly. " Bemove the treacle, and the 
flies will disappear/' is an old adage, which wags used ironi- 
cally to apply to. Miss Burdett Gouite when suffering from th& 
persecution of Messrs. Dunn, Brown, and Co*;. but a» the- 
grocers could not well remove an article in. demand, they 
were obliged to put up with the visitation. 
In private houses, even, it was next thing to insufferable; 

pleura or flies. 339 

A« tke ftrst grey streak of dawndrove the mosquitoes into their 
retreat, the torpid flyiswarm on tbe ceiling began to betray 
symptoms of returning animation, and, ere the lapse of many 
moments, were in a full burst of activity. Adieu, then, to 
sleep, from their torturing hum like a wilderness of spin- 
ning-wheels; and, wanting mosquito curtains; adieu to all 
peace and quiet, for bands; or fhce, or feet put out to cool 
were instantly invested afr all points by those watchful tor- 
mentors, who pertinaciously dodged you into the breakfast- 
parlour,* lying in wait for the removal of the covers from the 
butter j eooler, sugar-basin, or cream-ewer; and if balked in 
their festal expectations, they immolated themselves by pla- 
toons in the hot tea, — I was almost inclined to think, with the 
barbarous instinct of poisoning the cup in a dying' effort of 
rerenge: However, those wholesale hecatombs of self-sacri- 
fices did not appear to have any effect in thinning their ranks, 
for by dinner-time, like the exhanstless armies of Darius, 
they were again under arms, watching the retreat of the 
dish-covers to invade hot meat and steaming soup, and after- 
word* to poise a lance in pinning your kerchief to your nose 
if you ventured on an evening siesta. 

I wish I had half a farthing for evcrry head of flies that 
fell in. our establishment by violence or poison-; but then. I 
murt admit tbstour neighbourhood waar a. regular ntirseffy 
for' them; I brought home on one occasion a fly poison, 
which waa invented in the: hope* of coping with the; plague, 
andin very general use in the city and environs. It was a 
powtter whioit dissolved, in water,, and, exposed, on plates 
thnraghovt the houses spread about, a. vapour very fatal to 
tbtm. Ubey f ell by millions of millions' everywhere; you 
crushed them as:you walked, over the carpet, you squelched 
them as you sat. down on a chair, they dropped paralysed into 
your wine inter poeulum et labra, and formed unpleasant re- 


840 LirE nr tiotobia. 

presentations of black-currant jam on your bread-and-butter, 
suggesting practical parodies on Tom Moore's song of " My 
not yet/' until, in fact, the cure became worse than the 

I know the home reader will at once pronounce my de- 
lineation of the fly plague as intensely exaggerated and over- 
coloured, but I appeal with confidence to the colonist and 
visitor of the period to bear me out in the picture, and vin- 
dicate me from all imputations of incredulity. I declare 
most solemnly I saw the housemaid, for the tenth time of 
the day, take the dust-pan and hand-brush, and sweep from 
the carpet a heap of dead flies that would count by hundreds 
of thousands. 

But, strange, like the diminished intensity of the hot 
winds, the fly nuisance has since most astonishingly abated, 
season by season, until the Victorians have as little to com- 
plain of in that respect as the home-staying Britisher. In 
the diggings in 1853 and 1854, the fly nuisance, as I sub- 
sequently learned, waB equally intolerable. They not only 
persecuted the men overground by their worrying irritation, 
but they descended after them in the holes, a larger descrip- 
tion, of blue-bottle species, flicking out the candles at least 
once a minute; and, curious beyond all explanation, this 
latter tribe increased in numbers as the symptoms of foul 
air became apparent, seeming to revel in increased mis- 
chievousneBS as the atmosphere became more insufferable, 
until at last the anomaly came to be regarded as a providen- 
tial premonition of danger. This I have been assured of 
by numerous diggers, on whose credibility I have every 
reason to rely. There were flies also overabounding in 
number in the diggings which produced a most distressing 
type of ophthalmia, called "fly blight," most difficult of 
treatment and most obstinate in its adhesion, often and 


often entailing ruin on the poor victims, from their total 
inability to work. In the digger's tent, the fly had perfect 
toleration for six days in the week, because they utterly 
forbade any indulgence in somnolent habits during the 
working days, but on Saturday evening it was quite a general 
practice for diggers, before retiring to rest, to set to work at 
nightfall to expel them, by lighting a lamp outside, and beat- 
ing the inside of the tent with sheets and towels, in order to 
enjoy a comfortable snooze on the Sabbath morning. Lat- 
terly, however, this necessity is completely obviated by the 
comparative disappearance of the insect, as I can myself 
answer for, having lived over a year and a half (during 1854 
and 1855) under canvas in Bendigo without ever having 
experienced the slightest annoyance from them. I am not 
prepared to offer any sufficient cause, either natural or arti- 
ficial, for the abatement of this pest. Perhaps, like the 
visitation of locusts, it may come periodically, but against 
this presumption I have to adduce the experiences of the 
older settlers, who say that flies always overabounded until 
within the last few years, since when their diminution 
has become a topic of general remark in the more settled 

I will now take a step backwards, " from the ridiculous 
to the sublime," from flies to legislators, and instead of 
imitating or portraying the hum and buzz of insects, I must 
endeavour, however humbly, to convey some faint concep- 
tion of the bearing and the ore rotundo enunciation of those 
heaven-transported statesmen, who were providentially ex- 
patriated, not — as cynical anticipators thought I was going 
to write — for their country's good, but for the exaltation 
of the country of their adoption. But I beg the reader will 
not indulge in the expectation that I am going to abandon 
my free-and-easy mode of communication to embrace the 


hard-grained atyle of political economists, or the metaphysi- 
cal jargon of constitutional disquisitionists. I touch upon 
polities against my grain — I would much .rather pass them 
by altogether if I could— but even my rude sketch would 
be radically wanting, short of a member, if I neglected allud- 
ing, however summarily, to parties and politics. 

I knew little or nothing of the public men personally.; .X 
met few of them in -society, and had no occasion .for inteiv 
course with them in ft public capacity ; in feet, .many of tboae 
who constituted the old Legislative Council were rareljr 
known in their own neighbourhoods. The Government 
nominees, of eourse, were men of some mark* including as 
they did the Executive Council. The prominent .men of 
the Fawkner stamp were also to be found amongst them, 
but then there were many others who might have been 
aboriginals, in so far as political fame or scholastic aoeojft- 
pliahments were concerned. 

I had quite enough of politics in my early days to know- 
that it was far from a paying vocation, and as I visited 
Victoria rather with :a view of bettering my fortunes than 
for the purpose ^ of climbing the political ladder, I did not 
court the acquaintance of public characters, or bestow any 
especial attention on the party questions of the .day. But, 
as I evermore had a penchant for getting into the Speaker's 
gallery of the House of Commons, listening with enraptured 
delight to that splendid eloquence which charmed while it 
instructed the eager listener, I was involuntarily allured 
at times, in the dearth of other mental attractions, to perch 
myself in the loft which commanded a view of the Legisla- 
tive Council-Chamber, which, by .the courtesy of the St. 
.Patrick Society, was temporarily located in. their.great. Hall, 
without any charge for the accommodation. And hero let 
me advert, in terms of commendation, to .the general con- 


duct of that society, which contrasts most strikingly with 
that of its rival, the Loyal Orange Institution. Both of 
them are importations from the old country, representing 
respectively Eibbonism and Orangeism transplanted to the 
antipodes with all the original rancour of deadly antagonism, 
and cherished, as I understand, in the earlier days of the 
colony, with the same fell spirit that characterised them at 
home, indulging on their festivals in irritating demonstra- 
tions, aggravating processions, and insulting dinners, which 
.v«ry frequently bd to fierce. and disastrous tumults. Bat 
•while the disciples of St. Patrick, alio wed their religious and 
political .zeal to subside into the more genial emotions of 
good neighbourhood and brotherly love, the proteges of 
Dutch "William " move their wrath to keep it .warm," .never 
permitting a festival to pass over without the usual dinner^ 
whore the memory of " Our deliverer from brass money and 
wooden shoes" is drunk in solemn silence, while the toastof 
" The Pope :in the pillory of hell, and the devil pelting 
priests at him," is drunk with yelling honours, evangelical 
clergymen joining moat boisterously in the demonstration. 
.Another phase. of the oonteast was furnished by the yield- 
ing up of the Hall .gratuitously for the common good ofthe 
country, and instead of relapsing into an arena for .party or 
.religious -strife, when the Legislature removed to its national 
establishment, it has been changed into an open institution, 
where the votaries of the arts and sciences assemble pe- 
riodically to cultivate tbe.taste and promote the refined pro* 
gtess of the colony, while the Protestant Hall remains the 
foul den of a faqtious party, marked by the spiteful .spleen 
which attends impotence, hissing hatefully but harmlessly, 
like the serpent when deprived of its sting, 

.The temporary Council-Chamber was a plain apartment, 
and, though .limited in space, was amply sufficient far the 


accommodation of the members, who rarely muatered in fall 
strength, as some of the electoral districts were remote and 
inaccessible, and voters were so scarce and indifferent there 
was no voice to proclaim the call of duty. When Mr. 
Fellows, the late Solicitor- General, was selected by the 
squatters as their legal advocate in the Legislature, and 
assigned the Lodden district to sit for in 1854, the first 
attempt at election fell through from the want of a brace of 
electors to observe the form of proposing and seconding him 
in his absence ; and on the next occasion — as the story goes 
— the honourable and learned gentleman, who started from 
Melbourne with his proposer and seconder chained and 
hooded, got bushed in searching for the hustings, and was 
driven to get a shepherd, whom he met by accident, to 
perform the functions of returning officer ; his flock, by a 
mere legal fiction, representing the electors, congregated by 
proclamation to attend the poll. 

The topics of political agitation during the session of 
1853 were, in the diggings, " the abolition of the license- 
tax;" in the towns and agricultural districts, "the un- 
locking of the lands ;" but on the floor of the House, " the 
new constitution." The press took turns at all three, but 
dwelt principally on the second; the Argus especially de- 
manding a full and immediate settlement of that most intri- 
cate and absorbing question in anticipation of the great 
colonial charter, under which alone all sane and provident 
citizens felt it absolutely futile to deal with it. The ultra- 
radical tone adopted by the press on the land question 
aroused the squatters to action in and out of doors. They 
had their clique in the House, and their league at the Fort 
Phillip Club Hotel; they pretended to despise the fourth 
estate, to contemn the Legislature, and only to recognise the 
interference of the Imperial or Privy Council in so far as it 


tallied with their precious notions of equity ; they rayed and 
they ranted in the most incoherent and unmeaning manner, 
at one and the same time wailing almost in tearful tones the 
lamentable pitch of poverty and destitution to which they 
were reduced by the encroachments of the diabolical digger, 
and boasting in tones of triumph of the incalculable sum 
they had subscribed to carry their claims to a successful 
issue. These claims, by some inscrutable computative pro- 
cess, they mounted up to millions, by extracting, as it would 
appear to the vulgar eye, debits of a most destructive cha- 
racter where credits seemed to swell in overabounding afflu- 
ence, like the ingenious logic of the Mudfog Association, 
which could be made to prove " that this is the other end of 
the table." By a skilful disposition of figures they showed 
an enormous balance of loss, resulting from the advance of 
mutton and beef from one penny to sevenpence per pound, 
which they most perversely persisted in increasing, by im- 
porting countless herds and flocks from the neighbouring 
colonies, instead of remaining passively quiescent under 
their local misfortunes. The advance of horses, too, from a 
nominal value of five or ten pounds to a three-figure price, 
by a parity of calculation was equally ruinous; and with a 
corresponding perversity of practice they refined upon their 
own destruction by driving large mobs of them overland 
from Sydney and South Australia. Even hides, horns, and 
sheepskins, which in 1852 might not only have been taken 
away without leave, but with a voluntary acknowledgment of 
compliment from the embarrassed owners, operated — the 
squatters could demonstrate— with a degree of incalculable 
prejudice, by having risen respectively to the intrinsic worth 
of 30s. per hide, 10s. per cwt., and 6s. per skin. They could 
make it clearly apparent to the dullest comprehension how 
fearfully they were damnified by the deprivation of territory 


which they never occupied, by its coming into the possession 
of diggers, who thereby created a carcase market at their 
boundaries ; the same possession being employed to testify 
to the annihilation of wool-growing, while purblind people, 
relying on export statistics, would be led to imagine that the 
wool crop of Victoria flourished side by side with the golden 
harvest, However, not to weary the reader with my ironical 
reasoning, I will conclude this. paragraph by saying that the 
squatter was silly enough to indulge tin the hope of deluding 
the Legislature by. a parade of false pretences, and to excite 
the everlasting enmity of the predominant class in the colony 
by an incessant outpouring of undeserved obloquy and male- 
dictions on their heads, which have been treaaured up in 
remembrance, and, I fear, will be visited with a degree of 
vengeance in the final settlement of the land question. 

The press and the radical agitators saw the silly weakness 
.of the squatters in pressing unsustainable demands, and 
gratuitously insulting that section of the public who would 
be most potential in, annulling -then;,. and they laboured most 
assiduously in fomenting the quarrel, until squatters. and 
diggers glared at each other when they met, feeling as if 
.they were created. for .mutual bate and destruction. Weshall 
jee .how. this feeling operated in the end; and, without .any 
^pretensions to prescience, I could predicate it,. as I .gathered 
and collated expressions of public sentiment, and listened to 
the upstart insolence of their self-constituted leader .in the 
Council,, a spirit dealer called .Goodman, who, by some trick 
of trade, wormed himself into the possession of a. run on the 
Murray district, 

I .always endeavoured, in my visits io the Legislative 
Council, to hit upon the debates on the Constitution, and 
although I cannot in candour say that I was impressed, on 
the whole, with. any very elevated notion of the rhetorical 

-**■ - 


powers of the Victorian Senate, I must avow that the 
speeches, generally, evinced an amount of careful study, and 
a thorough plain common-aerwe imderatanding of the broad 
and difficult subject, for which I was wholly unprepared, 
while, in some individual instances, there was a display of 
constitutional lore, an evidence of oratorical attributes; that 
would have taken respectable rank in the .British Souse of 
Commons. The:personal presence. of William Foster .Stakell 
prepossessed me in his favour as I last saw himxise. !The 
Taitnral graees of his unstudied elocution, the purity » of his 
classical diction, the lucid arrangement ef his perspicuous 
arguments, and his readiness in reply or in combating in- 
terruption, satisfied me at an early date of his surpassing 
aptitude for his position as Attorney-General. John /Leslie 
Foster, the Colonial Secretary, though wanting in 'the .ex- 
terior attractions of physical beauty or symmetry, convinced 
me, on the 'first night of my attendance, that he had a strong 
natural mind, well-stored and disciplined, and a brain abound- 
ing in tact, as well as a tongue excelling in readiness, which 
constituted him in my mind, and in the estimation of the 
House, an admirable debater. The Government also pos- 
sessed another man, able in speech and ratiocination, and 
a sort of living lexicon in respect of reference, Hugh C. E. 
Ohilders, who at once took a commanding position in public 
affairs on his advancement to the Commissionewhip of 'Cus- 
toms at the decease of Mr. Casselb ; tind Mr. Murphy, then 
the President of the Central Boad Board, and now the 
Speaker of the Legislative Assembly under the new Con- 
stitution, I remember delivered a speech on the Constitution 
measure which impressed me very .favourably as to the scope 
of his general abilities. 

The Opposition, if it can' be properly no denominated, was 
not at that 'time able to cope-with the Government in respect 


of trained talent or ability, but still there were some clever 
men on the left hand of the then Speaker, who is at present 
the President of the Legislative Council, with the honour of 
knighthood. Mr. Fawkner, who from his position with regard 
to the colony I must class as the Premier on that side, cer- 
tainly took the lead, so far as zeal and patriotic anxiety for the 
future were concerned ; but I could have wished that his con- 
duct had been less leavened with petulance, and more liberally 
imbued with consideration. No one could possibly harbour 
a doubt as to his thorough honesty or the sincerity of his 
earnestness, but many of his best friends and most ardent 
admirers deplored that he did not endeavour to place some 
restraint over his natural temperament, which, though evi- 
dently strained to excess — in a burning desire of serving the 
country not only of his adoption, but, I may say, of his 
making — tended to distract and retard the satisfactory set- 
tlement of the momentous question on which the good 
destinies of the colony so materially depended. 

Mr. O'Shaunassy, who had earned considerable reputation 
m the former sessions from his thorough acquaintance with 
all subjects interwoven with colonial progress and develop- 
ment, took some strides in advance in that of 1853. He is 
a self-educated Irishman, who, while working his way to 
independence in fortune, made colonial politics his study, 
his great natural abilities, combined with intense application, 
enabling him to arrive at a thorough understanding of the 
grievances and requirements of the land of his adoption. 
Considering his antecedents, his pronunciation and the gram- 
matical correctness and appositeness of his diction are really 
surprising, more especially so when taken in connexion with 
his rapid utterance, which flows in a continuous stream like 
a mill-race, unbroken by pause, emphasis, or modulation. If 
Mr. O'Shaunassy had had the benefits of collegiate training in 


early life, and had been familiarised with the graces and effects 
of elocution, he might readily have been moulded into a posi- 
tive orator ; but all inartificial and ungainly as is his delivery, 
bis speeches never fail of producing a becoming effect, whe- 
ther in introducing a motion or winding up a debate ; while 
the readiness of his replies, and the quickness of his retort, 
are of an order to command admiration, aave when they are 
stained and disfigured by the ebullitions of an uncontrollable 
Celtic temperament, which I regret to remark are by far too 
easily provoked. Nevertheless, with all his faults and imper- 
fections, John O'Shaunassy, if he lives to an average age, is 
certain to take high, if not the highest, rank amongst Vic- 
torian statesmen; and I sincerely trust that the self-disci- 
pline which he proved himself so capable of imposing on him- 
self in his career of acquirement may even at a later day be 
applied with a like efficacy in opposing restraints to the im- 
pulses of his fervid temper. Mr. O'Shaunassy did good ser- 
vice in the Constitution debate, and both within the walls of 
the House and in the estimation of the country awakened 
admiration and promise. 

Dr. Greeves, by turning everything, and nothing long, 
somehow or other acquired an oratorical reputation that ex- 
cited my curiosity, but, I am bound to say, quite disappointed 
my expectations. He is, in no sense of the term, entitled to 
such a character in my humble opinion, and certainly must have 
acquired it when rhetoric was very imperfectly comprehended 
in the colony ; at best, he is only gifted with a certain degree 
of pedantic fluency, which, by enabling him to spoufrat times 
for twenty minutes or three-quarters of an hour, entitles him 
to be called a speaker, but orator he cannot be properly 
called without an entire perversion of sense and meaning. 
He is, however, a painstaking man, who, with the education 
necessary for professional pursuits, a fair share of small 


ability, and a gnat ambition for public fame or notoriety, 
has given all fait time of later yean* to the study of public 
questions, beginning with those of a» corporate calibre, and 
mounting upward* in the scale bo those involving constitu- 
tional doctrines* He, too,, made a decent speech on tie 
subjecti in question; but although by an unforeseen^ revolu- 
tion of the political wheel he. was lately pitched into the 
position of a Cabinet Minister, and ejected again before his 
seat was well warmed, I shall be much disappointed if the 
doctor ever again emerges from the mediocre class to which 
he undoubtedly belongs. 

I have neither space nor inclination to specify the other 
notabilities of the Opposition, but there was- still another 
chars in* the House, containing men, of colonial note and 
marked ability — men, tee, deserving of all honour for tile 
unselfishness; and. moderation of their views and the honesty 
and candour of their conduett— for, squatters though they 
were and are, they did. not refuse to acknowledge the pro- 
digiousr benefits the discovery of gold accumulated on the 
colony, nor did they seek to array themselves in. hostile 
opposition to the developing, progress of Hie digger in. the 
rational settlement of the country. Amongst these men. I 
will content myself with enumerating Mr. Colin Campbell, 
Mr. Griffiths*, and Mr. Snodgrass, who;, with, as, much at 
stake as- the growlers of the Goodman school, evinced their 
disposition, to bow to the new order of events, and trim: the 
state barque for the gales and currents. which had se unex- 
pectedly arisen* Mr. Campbell is. a man. of a very high 
order of attainments, and with powers of speech, which rank 
him amongst the best debaters in. the. Colonial Parliament. 
Mr.. Griffiths, too, is a gentleman of . considerable ability, 
equally respected. in public and private life,, a. man of matured 
views, whose opinions, delivered with unstudied elegance 


andi ease, invariably command respect and attention. Mr. 
Snodgrass is more of a practical man than polished politician, 
who, possessing as much experienced knowledge as any of 
his- classy assuredly on the score of disinterestedness- earned 
higher claims: to national respect than most of them, not 
being in possession of that overabounding wealth* which 
would enable him to practise magnanimity with absolute 

And now let me finish for the present any further refer** 
enee to Parliament, polities* or .'public men. The session of 
1853 eventuated in the framing of a constitution the most 
liberal that had yet been sought, for by, or awarded' to, a 
British colony. In a future chapter I will notice the 
manner in. which it was found to work when returned with 
the ratification of our gracious Sovereign* as the " Magna 
Cbarta" of that distant gem of her crown which bears and 
rejoices- in her own 1 royal name. The diggers being without 
representatives-— at least, direct or recognised represents 
tives— in the Parliament, were naturally anxious and jealous 
about their future rights and privileges, and as they attri- 
buted all their grievances, to the despotic administration of 
the existing laws, they, by means of " the pressure from 
without," sought to impress the Legislature with the justice 
and the exigency of their demands, which, through their 
agitations, were specified. under the heads of u universal suf- 
frage," "representation solely based on population/* and 
" annual parliaments/' These clamorous demagogues, who 
managed to extract a golden harvest from the agitation, per" 
suaded the diggers i&at the license-tax would be perpetual, 
that encroachments on private property would be utterly pro- 
hibited for ever and a: day, and that the lands would be con- 
tinued under lock and key, and only doled out to the pet and 
privileged classes. The temporary consequence of this creed 


was like the bursting of flame from rotten sticks. The 
whole digging population were wound up into a frenzy, and 
any one reading the reports of the gold-fields excitement 
would have imagined that gold-seeking, like other plethoras, 
had begun to pall upon the appetite of acquisitiveness, and 
that a new revelrous pleasure had been discovered in poli- 
tical agitation. 

The eternal requisitions for public meetings were one and 
all couched in language which would seem to emanate from 
people Buffering in the most frightful agonies of political 
destitution. Their resolutions conveyed the idea of a people 
writhing in despotic tortures, and their frenzied speeches 
read like so many leave-takings of their senses. " Give us 
universal suffrage, and take our gold-dust ; grant us a full 
measure of. representation, and we will resign our leads and 
gutters ; and only throw in annual parliaments, and we will 
become * hewers of wood and drawers of water.' " And this 
apparently all-pervading political sentiment amongst the 
diggers was the more remarkable from the direct contrast 
which it presented to the lethargic indifference of the mer- 
cantile, professional, and mechanical classes, who, at the 
same era, could not be got together on any public occasion, 
being, to all appearances, wholly indifferent about their lives 
and liberties. 

Often, I might almost say regularly, on returning home 
from the debates in the Legislative Council, I had oppor- 
tunities of winding-up my evenings with exciting after- 
pieces, for I may say, in sober sadness, that so regular, so 
habitual had the recurrence of nightly fires become, that the 
first inquiry of a heavy sleeper of a morning was, " Where 
was the fire last night P" so that conflagrations became as 
regular in a way as tides, differing, though, in these respects, 
that they only occurred once in the twenty-four hours, and 


that the full moon exercised an opposing influence. The 
effect was demoralising to the last degree, for when humble 
men were led to believe that their superiors resorted to 
felonious crime in order to retrieve their financial difficulties, 
it was not to be wondered at that they inductively acquitted 
themselves of any impropriety from improving their circum- 
stances by the commission of burglary or highway robbery. 

The roaring fire at Messrs. C — f— s and Co.'s, of Flinder's- 
lane, was excellently well attended. The evening was fine 
and calm, and as the flames ascended, perpendicularly, they 
were seen afar off, so that the assemblage was momentarily 
augmented by arrivals from the country — St. Kilda, Sand- 
ridge, South Tarra, Bichmond, Prahran, Hawthorne, North- 
cote, Memington, and Footseray— to look on the glowing ex- 
hibition ; the suburban visitors all sitting in their vehicles, 
indulging in eager inquiries, and unsparing insinuations as 
to the origin of the calamity, while probably Mr. C — f — a 
was sipping a tumbler of punch close by, complaining, like 
Sheridan at the Drury Lane blaze, " that he could not be 
allowed to enjoy a glass in comfort at his own fireside." 
This, at the time, was considered, as the phrase went, " one of 
the most flagrant fires of the year." All the preliminary 
arrangements would appear to have transpired while it was 
in progress, for one group would tell another how a carboy 
of turpentine and a cask of pitch were removed to a conve- 
nient place at a late hour of the evening, and a case of 
matches brought into connexion with them ; while others 
would tell you circumstantially of certain heavy engage- 
ments which could not be otherwise met, in consequence of 
certain heavy losses in the particular transactions ; and any 
one, or every one in the crowd, could tell you the exact 
amount of the policies in the Victoria, the Tasmanian, or 
the Liverpool and London Assurance Companies, and, in the 

vol. i. 2 a 


same breath, go within a fraction of the value of all the 
spurious bales and doctored boxes that were flaring up ever 
and anon with dazzling brilliancy. I recollect that the night 
but one after C — f— s's fire I came across from the hill to 
see another blaze close by the former scene, on the opposite 
side of the way. It was a well-insured public-house in de- 
clining business. I met my friend Professor Sands amongst 
the spectators, who remarked: "It was the uld disease 
a-breaking out in fresh places; an 9 no reason for tears of 
compassion neither, for half the water he made his cub- 
tomers pay seven-an-six a pint for would put out the hull 
fire; besides, in most cases, a public in ashes is worth 
ten thousand pounds." 

Having a little spare time on hand, I now took a turn at 
an entirely new style of business, for which I dare say my 
presumption and impertinence was pretty frequently apo- 
strophised. The mercantile classes, suffering to a frightful 
degree from the delays, the extortions, and the transit rob- 
beries of the lightery system, commenced an agitation for 
the bringing up of ships to the city, and the formation of 
docks for their accommodation. Amongst other moves in 
that direction, they caused premiums to be advertised of. 
500Z., 300?., and 100Z. respectively, for the best places, 
designs, and estimates for accomplishing the design in the 
best, quickest, and most economical manner, fixing a time 
and place for the delivery of the papers to an authorised 
secretary, and unfortunately nominating a committee of 
Selection from amongst a certain section not overburdened 
with business or scrupulosity. 

There were no restrictions as to the competitors ; the field 
was open to all. Still the general impression was that it would 
be confined to engineers, as the project necessarily included 
both draughting and surveying. However, without ever 


once dreaming of either meriting or claiming any of the 
premiums, I resolved on giving my views and calculations. 
I went to work, in the first instance, in making a plain but 
neat and correct map of the south-west end of the city, 
including all the suburb intervening betwixt it and the bay, 
marking the course of the Yarra on it. Taking Batman's 
Hill, at the end of Collins-street, as my starting-point, I 
measured the river from the base of the hill to its disem- 
boguement, and found it to be eight miles, whereas, in a 
direct line, it was only one mile three furlongs, over ground 
as level as the sea. Having ascertained this wide difference, 
I made borings in a straight line to depths necessary for 
the excavation of a ship-canal, and found it could be cut as 
easily as a turf bank or a Cheshire cheese. I then be- 
thought me that instead of a distinct canal it would be much 
the better plan to divert the entire river into a new 

I came to this conclusion for the following reasons : Be- 
cause a distinct canal would require nearly all the water of 
the river, as the Yarra would be the only feeder, so that the 
old channel would thus be valueless. I entered into calcula- 
tions which proved to me that a new cut for the Yarra, one 
mile three furlongs in length and so much as thirty feet deep, 
could be made for less money than excavating eight miles of 
the river-bed to the same depth. I listened to tales of the 
disastrous consequences of winter floods in times past ; I saw 
in the last season the immense breadth of splendid alluvial 
land which was covered by the flood-waters that were backed 
up by tortuous windings of the river ; and I heard medical 
men expatiate on the miasmatic influences of the marshy 
stagnations caused by the sluggish course of the Yarra, all of 
which evils I saw at a glance would be removed, and thou- 
sands upon thousands of acres of the lowest land thoroughly 



reclaimed for park, or garden, or any other purposes, by 
carrying the Yarra in a direct line to Hobson's Bay, for the 
incline that would not admit of the semblance of a current in 
a course of eight miles would increase it to comparative im- 
petuosity in the shorter distance, carrying flood-waters readily 
away, and draining all the swamp land about Sandridge, 
Emerald Hill, and St. Kilda on the one side, and those in 
the neighbourhood of Saltwater River on the other. And, 
over and above these considerations, it appeared to me that 
the river in its straight and rapid course would always keep 
its channel and entrance clear, and offer no obstructions to 
navigation ; whereas the Yarra, in its old course, would re- 
quire perpetual dredging, and present serious dangers and 
difficulties in its innumerable bends and angles to the passage 
of large ships. I next proceeded to show that my plan would 
be immediately reproductive or self-defraying ; that the stuff 
thrown out of an excavation one hundred and fifty feet by- 
thirty, equally divided and levelled, would give an area of three 
hundred feet wide on either side, which would present the 
noblest site for stores and warehouses ; and, calculating the 
price of frontages fifty per cent, below the current rates pro- 
perty was then fetching fronting the wharfs, I proved they 
would realise a sum more than sufficient to cover the entire 
outlay, including the formation of small indented docks along 
the margin of the new cut for the accommodation of the local 
trade. The great city dock, for which there is the grandest 
possible natural site in the creBcent-shape space between 
^Batman's and the Barrack Hills, abutting upon Great 
Collins, Bourke, and Lonsdale streets, I showed could be 
constructed in a like facile and self-defraying manner. 

I will abstain from going into details or calculations, as 
they would not interest the general reader. I also kept them 
eecret at the time, because I found that all the other avowed 


competitors confined themselves exclusively to dealing with 
the old river in various ways, many in their confident vanity 
exhibiting monster unfolding maps, large enough for pane 
ramas at the Egyptian Hall, whereon was portrayed the 
turbid, tortuous Yarra, and its low banks fringed with tea- 
tree scrub, as a lively pellucid stream winding gracefully 
beneath majestic groves of gum and stringy bark, through 
which high-pressure steam-boats and great clipper ships, 
with sky-sails and studding-sails alow and aloft, were scud- 
ding past each other with as little, inconvenience as so many 
wood-pigeons, painted most gorgeously in variegated rain- 
bow hues, and crowded with eager passengers, who all ap- 
peared to be singing " Cheer, boys, cheer, for the new and 
happy land," and the very next thing to leaping ashore in 
their overabounding joy. 

I could not help feeling that my meagre pen-and-ink 
sketch would look small and shabby beside thoBe glorious 
Claude Lorrain pictures, so I kept it back to the last moment 
required by the advertisement, which, as the day approached, 
was republished, stating in equally positive terms that all the 
plans should be punctually delivered, and that on the follow- 
ing day the committee of selection would proceed to their 
adjudication. I went to deliver mine at noon, in person, on 
the last day, and I thought the secretary would burst his 
boot-lacings in endeavouring to suppress his laughter while 
hanging up my miserable scrawl in . such gallant company ; 
for, to the ordinary eye, it no doubt looked as a village sign- 
board would in the National G-allery. On the afternoon of 
the same day I sent a duplicate of my map, and a copy (I got 
them lithographed) of my plan and calculations in detail, 
with reasons and explanations, to the Chamber of Commerce, 
to which all the £lite of the mercantile community belonged. 
It so happened they held a monthly meeting on that day ; 


nevertheless, it appeared they investigated my design and 
calculations at once, for in the coarse of next day I received 
a note from the secretary of the Chamber, coached in most 
nattering terms, stating that the assembled members had most 
carefully examined my plan and calculations, and were 
unanimous in their approval of both, and that he was desired 
to convey to me the warmest thanks and congratulations of 
the body, as well as their desire that my project should be 

I had not well digested this very agreeable compliment, 
when I was handed another official communication from the 
secretary of the committee of adjudication, stating " that 
from unforeseen circumstances they would not proceed with, 
their deliberations for another month." I saw the dodge 
the moment I read the note, and I offered to wager several 
of my acquaintances, who had inspected the various plans in 
the public room, that during the delay new plans would be 
admitted, and the old ones be permitted to be altered and 
amended* I was a new chum and a non-professional man, 
and it would never do that my competitors, who were all old 
chums, and engineers — save the mark ! — at least those who 
got the premiums — should be put hors de combat by such a 
person. I was well aware of the mean, pettifogging spirit 
of jealousy which existed in all phases of competition be- 
tween the lime-juicer and the old colonist, and my predica- 
tions were fully verified. The old river plans were nearly 
altogether abandoned, and although most of the original 
pictures remained staring the public in the face, the first 
premium was awarded to a person who gave in an amended 
project almost totidem verbis with mine, and while even those 
who did not get premiums (being old chums) received most 
complimentary acknowledgments of their abilities, poor pil- 
garlic got never a line. It was about as barefaced a pro* 

a case or JOBBING. 359 

ceeding as could have been well perpetrated, but so far from 
being disappointed at the result, I plumed myself excessively 
in anticipating it, as a full confirmation of the opinions I 
had formed of our colonial forefathers. Let me not be mis- 
understood : I mean those classes of them who degenerated 
into jobbers and adventurers, and, like vultures, were always 
engaged in sweeping the horizon in search of prey or oil', 
They got it in the above instance, and I hope the meal 
agreed with them, as some wag said in an anticipative sense 
to the Bishop of New Zealand when about to embark on his 
mission, alluding to the probability of his being devoured by 
cannibals. I am happy, however, to add, that the liberal 
infusion of new blood during the last few years has tabooed 
this disgraceful propensity, and equalised the chances of 
emulative competition between the natives and the immi- 
grants. The necessity for this undertaking is still urgent, 
and offers a most safe and tempting investment for asso- 
ciated capitalists, who, there is every reason to suppose, 
would meet every possible encouragement from Government. 
As a public work it cannot be attempted for years, until 
after the completion of the great railway scheme, involving 
an outlay of eight millions, but what from the revenue and 
the value of property from the reclaimed lands which would 
be granted by Parliament for the project, it offers a more 
promising field for expenditure than any presented either in 
America or the European kingdom. 



The Trial— Hard Swearing — Great Sweating— Preponderance of Irish Bar- 
risters — My Drive to Kilmore— Endurance of Colonial Horses as com- 
pared with Home ones — Suggestions on the Subject — Recognised by an 
ould Acquaintance — Number of Irish in the Neighbourhood — How 
accounted for— Extract from the Report of the Colonial Land and Emi- 
gration Commissioners — Magnificent Testimony to noble Attributes of 
the Celtic Character — The Remittance System growing up rapidly in 
Australia — Distinctive Instincts of the English, Scotch, and Irish — 
Carty's Account of the improved Style of Irish Cultivation about Kil- 
more — He disproves the olden Allegation of Irish Indolence and Vice — 
Cause of the early Progress of the Kilmore District — A Programme for 
the Guidance of new Settlers in the Country Districts— A Register 
showing the proper Seasons for sowing and planting the different De- 
scriptions of Farm and Garden Produce — Remarks on the Farm-yard and 
Dairy — Interesting Extract from Facts and Figures — Remarks about the 
past and present Prices of Land — A Paragraph on the present and future 
Prospects of Agricultural Operations. 

The long-deferred trial about the waterproof clothing 
came off at last in the county court. The swearing of the 
opposing parties was as solemn and as opposite as could well 
be imagined. Every allegation of the plaintiff — so help him 
the God of the Old Testament — was directly contravened 
and contradicted by the witnesses for the defence with due 
Christian earnestness, and no doubt the worthy judge would, 
in the absence of predilection, have been constrained to 
resort to the doctrine of chances, " and sky a copper" to 
arrive at a decision, only that Mr. S— bs, the auctioneer, 
who was cognisant of the bargain in all its details, came in 


at the last moment, and gave impartial testimony in my 
brother's favour, which carried the verdict. 

The court on that day differed in no respect from the 
Black Hole of Calcutta, save in its lightsomeness. It was a 
hot wind outside, and when it commingled with the confined 
animal vapour inside, it produced an atmosphere beyond the 
powers of imagination to conjure up a semblance of. The 
judge's wig dripped, and the barristers' wigs dripped, and the 
witnesses, like wet umbrellas in a corner, soon stood in a 
pool of their own perspiration. The reporters were obliged 
to give over, for their scrapes and scratches ran into one 
another in discoloured blots ; attorneys who wore spectacles 
were continually wiping away the condensed steam from the 
glasses ; and the packed spectators outside the bar looked as 
if the cataracts of porous exudation would obliterate their 

I observed a vast number of new faces under horse-hair, 
and the predominant tone of the new comers smacked 
strongly of the Liffey. Even at that period the supreme 
courts had a sinecure, Nisi Prius was in its infancy, and 
Equity was Greek to the multitude. Consequently, 
M — h — e and I — 1 — d might be seen in this vapour-bath all 
day long, receiving tribute and reciprocating astonishment 
at the audacity of each other's clients' presumption in 
bringing such paltry cases into court. I am not now going 
to dwell on the subject of litigation, but I must say, en 
passant, that the constant exhibitions of opposite swearing 
which at every trial might be heard in that court, must have 
had the effect of subtracting from the moral or religious 
obligation of oaths in general, and was quite sufficient to 
beget a distaste for that meed of law reform which enables 
plaintiffs and defendants to give evidence in their own civil 


Now that the trial was over, the docks plan disposed 
of, and nothing very tempting in the auction line, I turned 
my attention to the interior; and as I heard great things of 
a new township called Heathcote, which was being laid out 
at the M'lvor Diggings (one of the later gold-fields) ,'I made 
up my accounts to go there "in search of the pecuniesque," 
having arranged to stay with a friend at Kilmore, and have 
a look at the agricultural progress of the neighbourhood. 
The town of Kilmore is about thirty-eight miles from Mel- 
bourne, on the direct Ovens and Sydney road, and the inter- 
vening country is, in places, as rich and fertile as it is pos- 
sible for land to be ; the good largely predominating over 
the inferior quality. Near Melbourne, a very nice and 
populous village called Brunswick was springing up, and 
between it and Pentridge* appeared to be a favourite dis- 
trict for pretty villas and country residences, as many in & 
finished state, and a still greater number in progress, seemed 
to mark out the line of the future permanent road. I saw 
some fine forms on a large scale, evidently a good while in 
cultivation, and several of small dimensions of modern birth, 
all bearing teeming testimony to the quality of the soil in 
the abundant promise of the crops. At some points there 
were magnificent prospects, both of fine open country and 
closely-wooded districts; and the Plenty ranges, clothed 
with timber all over, almost at times presented the appear- 
ance of high-rolling prairie land, as they showed no gap 
in the dense foliage to enable the strange spectator to dis- 
tinguish between the sloping tree-tops and the surface of 
rising land. 

* Pentridge is the seat of the principal penal stockade in the colony, where 
the convicts are imprisoned. I feel relieved from the necessity of describing 
it, as a fall-length portrait, and an admirably correct one, has already 
appeared in Household Words. 


I travelled with my friend in his tax-cart, with an out- 
rigger ; and although we never went a rapid rate, we reached 
our destination early in the day. We only waited to bait 
our horses once on the journey, which to the home wayfarer 
would, no doubt, appear cruel ; but the general usage in that 
respect all over the Australian colonies, differs very widely 
from British practice. Squatters, or farmers, think nothing 
of riding or driving fifty miles without a halt, nor do the 
animals seem to require it, even though the roads are so 
much more difficult, and the horse condition all got up 
on green food. Forty miles in of a morning, and out of an 
afternoon, or seventy miles in to-day, and out to-morrow, is 
a most ordinary occurrence ; and, amongst other feats of the 
kind, of which I was personally cognisant, was that of a 
party of three driving a pair of horses from St. Kilda to 
Kyneton, and returning the same night, a distance of one 
hundred and ten miles. When in California, I remarked 
that the horses were capable of performing what I thought 
to be extraordinary feats, and putting both experiences 
together, I begin inclining to the opinion that the British 
horse is rendered incapable of such performances by too 
much petting and pampering. A man who would attempt 
driving his horse from London to Birmingham, over one of 
the finest roads in the world, would be put in the newspaper 
pillory as the most inhuman of brutes, and prosecuted most 
likely by the Anti-Cruelty Society as a monster. Yet in 
Australia, animals of the same blood, taken from a grass 
paddock overnight, can perform the same distance over 
a rough bush road without betraying a symptom of distress. 
Does anybody " know the reason why ?" If it is not to be 
accounted for according to my theory, in support of which 
I will adduce the human analogies, to prove that men at 
home, who never wielded anything more distressing than a. 


goosequill or a magnum-bonum, came by practice to shoulder 
a heavy log with equal facility. G-o to the Inns of Court, 
and pick out a party of the sturdiest Templars to sink an 
Artesian well in Lincoln's Inn-fields; when would it be 
finished, think you? Never, did you say? Ay, never, I 
repeat ; simply because these midnight-oil-consuming-gentle- 
men, being brought up like so many "delicacies of the 
BeaBon," could not do such work to save their lives. It 
would be absolute cruelty to compel them to make the 
attempt — madness to think of accomplishing an impossi- 
bility. Yet I have seen men of that class — weakly to look 
at too — who sank and slabbed, and pumped and drove some 
of the most trying holes at Ballarat, improving so in health 
and physical development on the hard work and simple diet, 
that I have my doubts if their anxious mothers would recog- 
nise them without their glasses. Then I say, if men are 
capable of performing greater bodily achievements by a 
change of habits, why not the horse by having recourse 
to an altered system of training ? 

I was much astonished at the appearance of Kilmore in 
more than one respect, for it appeared to me like a place at 
least half a century old. And, again, it gave the idea that 
Tubbercurry, or Ballerodare, was rafted over holus-bolus 
from the Emerald Isle, so completely and intensely Irish was 
the entire population in appearance, in accent, and in the 
peculiarly Milesian style of huckstering arrangement in 
which the shops were set out ; and, lest I might have had 
my lingering misgivings on the subject, additional proof was 
afforded me by a man whom I observed dodging me in all 
my movements during my first stroll through the little town, 
and who at last, on hearing my voice, exclaimed, as he con- 
fronted me with a beaming countenance, " Arrah, by J ! 

sure you're Master "William !" "That's my name, cer- 

■ I M 


tainly," I replied ; " have we ever met before ?" " Ah, thin, 
blud-an-ouns, how's every inch of you P Meet afore is it p — 
at Bomore, in ould Sligo, where you carried the day on Irish- 
man." " So, you recollect me, I see," said I, " though that 
race came off some years ago." " Bemimber you, indeed ; 
why thin I'd be far gone wid sore eyes if I wouldn't know 
your skin on a bush. But there's no use in talkin'," he con* 
tinued, "come down wid me, sir, an' see the place an' 

I went with him accordingly, and, in explanation, was 
enabled to bring to mind some home reminiscences of his 
family and neighbourhood, which delighted him beyond 
measure. His name was Carty ; he lived in the town, but 
had a fine block of land of sixty acres in the suburbs, all 
under crop, and every inch his own. At home, a few years 
before, he was one of that poor spalpeen class who rented an 
acre of land and a mud cabin, and went over to reap the 
harvest in England in order to make up the rent ; but on 
the occasion of our meeting he owned a plot in the town, and 
built the house he inhabited by means of his earnings from 
the farm, which he purchased at the upset price of 11. per 
acre before the diggings commenced — rather a radical change 
in his condition in a very brief period. He explained to me 
the reason of the aggregation of IriBh in the neighbourhood 
in a very simple and natural way-— one that will be very 
easily understood by any person familiar with the invariable 
habits of the Irish emigrants on the American continent, 
where the first use an exile of Erin makes of his savings is 
to remit every penny beyond that required for his own im- 
mediate and pressing wants to his friends at home, to enable 
them to join him in the land of promise. It is a matter of 
public record the enormous sums sent by the Irish in 
America to rescue their relatives from destitution ; and the 

366 life nr victokia. 

same feeling which actuates the Irish peasant in alleviating 
the misery of his friends incites him to desire their presence 
to participate in his good fortune. It is the inherent preva- 
lence of this noble sentiment which has studded the United 
States so thickly with the Celtic race, and which hastened 
and swelled the memorable exodus in 1847, without which 
all the splendid aid of the Government, all the munificent 
contributions of English charity, would have been of little 

In connexion with these remarks, I will introduce a few 
short extracts from the " Fifteenth General Beport of the 
Colonial Land and Emigration Commissioners :" — " We find 
that the amounts remitted through the bankers and mer- 
chants, who are good enough to supply us with information 
on the subject, were, in 1854, larger than in any previous 
year. We reproduce the returns since we first obtained 
them, as a testimony of generosity and self-denial probably 
unparalleled in the world. The amounts were, in 


1848 upwards of 460,000 

1849 „ 540,000 

1850 „ 957,000 

1851 „ 990,000 

1852 „ 1,404,000 

1853 „ 1,439,000 

1854 „ 1,730,000 

"With regard to these remittances sent home by emi- 
grants to North America, there is one feature connected 
with them to which we wish to call attention. When money 
was first sent home in 1847 or 1848, it was, we believe, 
almost exclusively intended to enable those who were left 
behind in the mother country to join their more fortunate 
relatives who had preceded them. But the remittances of 
the last two years have far exceeded the amounts necessary 


£br that purpose. It would seem to follow that, in both 
those years, considerable portions of the very large sums (in 
1854 considerably more than a million) have been received 
from the United States for purposes wholly unconnected 
with emigration ; and thus it follows that the labour of the 
Irish peasant, though employed in a foreign country many 
thousand miles offj still continues a source of direct advan- 
tage to his native place, and of comfort and well-being to 
those whom he has left behind." 

It is not easy to conceive, and would be still more difficult 
to write, a more splendid tribute of praise and appreciation 
of the inherent nobleness and magnanimity of the Irish Celtic 
character than is conveyed by the naked figures— an un- 
varnished commentary on them — quoted above. In glorious 
truth they constitute "a testimony of generosity and self- 
denial probably (nay, positively) unparalleled in the world." 
The poor reviled and maligned Irish peasant — " the alien in 
blood, in language, and religion" of Lord Lyndhurst ; " the 
savage, the brute, the beast" of the historian Macaulay; 
" the bloody assassin" of the Times ; " the midnight mur- 
derer" of the Quarterly; "the difficulty" of all Govern- 
ments ; " the bugaboo" of the Legislature ; and "the debased 
idolater" of Exeter Hall — is found and proved to eclipse all 
other races, be " their blood, their language, and their reli- 
gion" what they may, in that fundamental principle of all 
mundane religion and morality so comprehensively enjoined 
in the fifth commandment, and so literally interpreted by 
this calumniated people, who not only " honour," but love, 
cherish, and maintain father and mother, brother and sister, 
and even, as regards fatherland, " drag at each remove a 
lengthening chain." During a tolerably long experience I 
have evermore found the good son and kind brother an ex- 
cellent and upright man in all relations of life, and vice versd, 


nor do I believe that anything short of the most "base, 
bloody, and brutal" treatment, both from former Govern- 
ments and bygone landlords, could have driven the Irish pea- 
santry to excesses which, in my mind, never transcended the 
provocation. But, thank God, those dark days have passed 
away : may the remembrance of the mutual miseries they 
witnessed sink likewise into the depths of oblivion ! 

The report is in error in asserting that the remittance sys- 
tem commenced in 1847 and 1848 ; to my own personal 
knowledge it existed long anterior to those dates, and from 
what I was in the habit of hearing, even in my childhood, I 
am satisfied it is coeval with the first origination of Irish 
emigration. As to the supposition regarding the allocation 
of the enormous surplus of late years beyond the require- 
ments of American emigration, I believe it is equally a mis- 
conception, as I have reason to know it was used by the 
recipients in emigrating to Australia since the discovery of 
gold in that country ; and if the numbers who emigrated 
thither would not at the first blush account for the magni- 
tude of the amount, the great difference in the coBt must, in 
the first place, be taken into consideration, and next, the 
necessity of having a certain sum in hand on landing in an 
expensive country, where there were no friends to receive 
them. The report, further on, also says : " There are signs of 
a commencement of the same system of remittances from 
Australia as has prevailed for years in America, and these 
remittances will introduce a different class into the emigra- 
tion. The facility with which money is acquired in Australia 
makes it probable that the amount sent home will be quite 
as large in proportion to the number of persons by whom it 
is sent." Bravo ! I say ; hurrah for the aliens ! Who de- 
serve to find gold so well as those who make such noble use 


The English emigrant, when he acquires money, increases 
his personal and domestic comforts. In his improved con- 
dition he abandons pedestrian exercise, and takes his recrea- 
tions on horseback, or in a gig, alternating them with his dog 
and his gun. The Scotchman, equally canny in affluence 
or indigence, is only slightly affected by improved circum- 
stances in prosperity ; he may resort to diet less cutaneouB 
in its tendencies, but he seldom goes beyond plain fare ; and 
instead of squandering his savings in fleeting amusements, 
he erects them into a balance at his banker's, the contem- 
plation of which never fails to suffuse him with rapturous 
delight. But the Irish emigrant almost regards himself as 
the trustee of his family and connexions ; born poor and 
inured to hardship, he deems it sacrilege to use his super- 
abundant earnings in selfish enjoyment while those he loveB 
and respects may be steeped in poverty and distress, and 
confined in his knowledge of banking to the name of that 
which " he once ran upon," he initiates his thrift by making 
his lodgment in the heel of his stocking ; and when that 
begins to " make a decent appearance," he casts about for a 
respectable countryman through whose agency he can at 
once relieve himself of a burden of uneasiness, and contribute 
to that of his far-distant friends. 

In the early, or pastoral days of the colony, Scotchmen 
vastly predominated over all others in the aggregate, while 
the Irish counted a miserable minority ; but now the tables 
are turned, and Irish, as far as numbers go, are in the as- 
cendant beyond any other distinct race, notwithstanding 
their original poverty and the expense of the voyage, and 
without seeking an explanation in any excess of partiality 
in the selections of free emigration. In fact and truth it 
was and is altogether owing to the national characteristic 
alluded to above ; and in the instance of Kilmore, Carty in- 
vol. i. 2 b 


formed me Bach was the ease, in confirmation of which he 
ran over a list of late remittances within his own knowledge, 
the magnitude of which completely surprised me, and satis- 
factorily accounted for the great and growing increase of the 
Irish family in Victoria. 

My friend Mr. M o knew Carty well, and between 
them I became assured of acquiring ample stores of informa- 
tion on agricultural subjects, which I felt anxious to learn 
for the purpose of instructing those who may harbour the 
intention of establishing their homes in the golden colony. 
The first thing that struck me in my perambulations in that 
district was the apparent superiority in the general style of 
culture as compared with the primitive husbandly amongst 
the Irish peasantry in their native land ; but Carty's expla- 
nation of the contrast was both pat and rational. He said, 
in effect, " the miserable farmer at home had no means to bay 

' ml 

either seed or implements. The one he purchased at a 
usurious rate from the gombeen man,* the plough and 
harrow, such as they were, he had to borrow, for perhaps one 
plough was as many as was in the townland, and he was 
obliged to use it on the day he engaged it whether the 
weather suited for turning the land or not, hurrying over the 
work to finish within the limited time allowed, so that it was 
hard to expect good husbandry under the circumstances ; 
and then as to the rough, unchained, badly-fenced state of 
the farm, it was not likely,' * he said, ""thai a poor man would 
court his own destruction by venturing to improve on the 
faith of laoodkwd encouragement without a lease. If he was 
fool enough to do so, the rent was immediately raised, or he 
was turned out to make room far some favourite of the agent, 

• Gombeen man is an Irish character — a village usurer, who sells out 
food nd seed at exorbitaat rates, taking advantage ti the necessities of the 


wlio held a mortgage oyer the property and could do what 
"he liked with the management. Many and many an agrarian 
outrage and murder was the consequence of the bitter, heart- 
breaking disappointment which followed ejection under such 
circumstances, when a poor fellow, after sinking his last far- 
thing on his farm, was turned out with his family on the road- 
side to perish in a ditch. 

u If poor farmers got leases, or if they were taught to rely 
with confidence on the good faith of their landlords, they 
never would have been liable to the imputation of idleness 
and improvidence. Every spare moment would have been 
devoted to draining or clearing their land. Their farms 
would have been their savings banks, where they would 
have naturally put out their money to fructify to the best 
advantage. Crime never finds a resting-place in the brain 
of a well-doing, happy man, nor do politics give him either 
interest or uneasiness ; neither would the Irish peasant have 
stained his hands in the one, nor interfered in the other, at 
the beck of agitator or priest, if the proper equitable rela- 
tions existed between him and the lord of the soil. I was 
considered a lazy, ill-disposed man at home, even though I 
crossed the Channel yearly to scrape my rent together by 
hard work and starvation, because I would not improve my 
holding without the hope of being allowed to reap the benefit 
of my labour and outlay. If I were a lazy man or slovenly 
former, it is not likely I would possess a farm like this. If 
1 had the danger of ejection constantly before me, I would 
be no better off in Victoria than I was in Ireland, but the 
hope of certain reward as a recompense for my toil kept my 
heart light, giving strength and constancy to my exertions* 
until I secured the honestly won prize which, thank €rod, I 
now possess. And my story, sir, is that of millions of 

372 LIFE I2T VICTOttlA. 

the Irish in America, and thousands even in this young 

The great breadth of country under cultivation all around 
Kilmore excited my wonder. Before gold-digging com- 
menced, farming was not a money-gaining employment there, 
but, like that on the far- west frontiers of America, it yielded 
a full and plentiful supply of the comforts and necessaries of 
life. Subsequently, however, the gr?at demand for* farm pro- 
duce, and the fabulous rates it fetched, quickly converted the 
ploughman into a capitalist; and as Kilmore was in the 
direct line to M'lvor, and also a favourite road for the 
Bendigo carriers, the town grew quickly in size and pro- 
sperity. Hotels and Hour-mills arose like magic, and the 
boundaries of agricultural operations became marvellously 
expanded. Nothing could be more promising than the ap- 
pearance of the wheat and potato crop at the time of my 
visit, and the yield of hay then in process of saving was 
abundant in the extreme. Green crops were scarce, but 
luxuriant beyond anything, and, as I learned, on the increase 
every year. I made it my business during my short stay to 
prosecute active inquiries relating to agriculture, which I 
subjoin in a desultory fashion. 

I ascertained that the best time for parties to enter into 
the occupation of a farm is in December, for carting is then 
in a great measure over for the season, all up-country sup- 
plies being laid in by that period, so that cattle and horses 
are on an average fully thirty-five per cent, cheaper ; and as 
the Bush roads are then dry and firm, teams can take nearly 
double loads at less risk ; a great consideration when pro- 
perly examined, especially to those who have any distance to 
draw their posts and rails for fencing, or the materials for 
erecting their dwelling. It would be well that new hands 
should know the overground indications of good or bad land, 


which are unerringly indicated : the former by the gum- 
tree, the wattle, or the she-oak ; the latter by stringy bark 
or honeysuckle. This primary knowledge is indispensable, 
for even good judges have been deceived by surface appear- 
ances. After selection comes fencing, which constitutes a 
serious item of expenditure, costing about 6s. 6d. per rod all 
cost told; that is, of the ordinary colonial three-railed fence, 
which, if properly put up, and the posts charred at the 
bottoms, will last twelve years. It is a good and an in- 
creasing habit to sow a species of furze called Cape broom 
along the fence, which grows quickly, forming a thick, im- 
penetrable hedge, which affords shade as well as shelter, and 
is advanced enough to form an excellent and lasting substi- 
tute for the timber fence long before the latter gets into a 
state of decay. 

If pise building was generally understood it would be the 
best and most economic for the farmer in Victoria ; but the 
next best for a beginner is the weatherboard house, which, 
if erected with care, and painted once a year, will last nearly 
for a generation. Slabs were used formerly, but they are 
now rarely resorted to, because they cannot be nicely 
jointed ; and however so closely they may be put together 
in the first instance, they shrink immensely, leaving the 
dwelling cold and comfortless. Some of the more rough- 
and-ready farmers tried log-huts, but they are abominable, 
for, in most cases, Australian timber is rotten in the heart, 
and as the decay goes on it generates infinite swarms of 
odious vermin, which in the end drive out any occupant. 

The man who has his fences up before the rainy season 
sets in should begin ploughing in May, but when once esta- 
blished, he should commence ploughing the moment the 
crop is removed, as in the Victorian climate there are spring- 
like days to be found all the year round, in which most grains 



will take root, and once well rooted, they are proof against 
all wet and scalding. All grains should go into the ground 
as early as possible, say in February, or, as a general rule, 
whenever the previous crop is cleared away, except barley, 
which, if for the purpose, of reaping, should be sown in 
June. In oats there is often a small weed-seed called drake, 
of which especial care should be taken, for it not only de- 
teriorates the value of the grain, but if it once gets into the 
soil it is impossible to eradicate it It grows like rye-grass, 
and is a black grain about the size of a small oat. It is not 
indigenous to Victoria, but abounds in Van Diemen's Land, 
whence it is supposed to be imported in hay and corn-feed, 
and propagated by means of the stable manure, for in the 
interior, where Tasmanian feed is not used, drake is un- 
known. Tartarean oats are considered the best seed, and will 
give two good crops from one sowing, as will also wheat or 
barley, but where a second crop is looked for the stubble 
requires a good heavy cross harrowing. 

Potatoes should be planted between the 20th of Septem- 
ber and the 20th of October. There is no manure required 
for a number of crops ; there is not any appearance of weed 
except where stable manure is used, when drake and sorrel 
(also a Tasmanian importation) come up in quantity 
amongst the stalks, and deteriorate the quality and the 
return, unless they are removed. In Ireland, farmers con- 
sider the crop would be valueless unless it is moulded 
(second-covered, as they denominate it), when the sprout 
emerges a few inches from the ground ; but in Yictoria — I 
believe I may say Australia — this process is altogether dis- 
pensed with without prejudicing the crop, which is a great 
saying of cost where labour is so very expensive. Like 
grain crops, the potato is most materially affected by the 
humidity or dryness of the season ; in 1854, two tons and a 


half would have been a liberal average per acre, while in 
1855, from the greater dampness of the year, so much as 
fifteen tons were turned out per acre in the Kilmore district, 
eleven to twelve tons being about the fair general average. 

Turnips must be sown in May ; if put in the ground 
sooner or later they run to seed. After rain, when the 
soil is moderately moist, is the most congenial time for 
sowing them ; but should the month pass over without rain, 
it is labour in vain and fruitless expense to try the crop ; 
they will run to seed without forming any bulb. White- 
top turnip is the best description, but in case a bigoted 
farmer will have swedes, he must sow them in mid-Novem- 
ber, and only then. When turnip is sown in the proper 
season, and comes up healthily, it escapes the fly, which only 
attacks it when it shows symptoms of running to seed. 
Mangel-wurzel does well, and should be sown about the 
same time as turnip. Carrots also grow admirably, and 
should be sown in June or July. 

Coming to common garden produce— cabbages, cauliflowers, 
salads, and peas— I should assign June and July as the proper 
months, though they will grow well at any time throughout 
the summer, giving them two months to mature. Cabbage 
has suffered frightfully from blight, caused by a fly which 
comes in countless swarms from blobs, or larv», which is 
deposited on the plant. The insects take wing in twenty 
hours after the larva is deposited, when they immediately 
commence their destructive career. Naturalists call them 
the " Aphis Brassies," and theorists and amateur gardeners 
prescribe various remedies for their destruction, which have 
been found quite inefficacious. There can be no doubt, how- 
ever, that hot winds and heavy rains are destructive to them ; 
but prevention is always better than cure, and I have the 
warrant of most experienced men in asserting that if the 


cabbage is forced up quick, with good warm manure, it will 
escape entirely the visitation of this destructive insect. 
Onions do well in good mould when sown in June or July, 
during moisture ; and celery, which was at first very rare, is 
now found to grow freely when planted in the end of Sep- 
tember or the beginning of October, and transplanted from. 
the frame in about six weeks, or whenever it has acquired 
sufficient growth and strength for the operation. While on 
the subject of garden produce, I wish to remark that sorrel 
is a most troublesome weed, as it grows both from root and 
seed, and can only be extirpated by trenching deep in dry 
weather and exposing it to the sun. I was much amused 
on my first arrival in seeing dandelion potted out in a bed 
as if it was a plant of great value and rarity, but it was 
new in the colony, and I think box and ivy are European 
plants which have not yet found their way to Victoria. 

I will revert again to field agriculture for the purpose of 
quoting an authoritative article from Facts and Figures, 
comparing " Harvest Produce in England and Victoria," and 
amending an omission of my own in reference to some of 
the usual appurtenances of farming — viz. pigs and poultry. 
Pigs, in consequence of the open nature of post and rail 
fencing in Victoria, must be confined to the farm-yard, and 
even then they cannot be profitably propagated beyond the 
number sufficient to consume the house and haggard waste, 
for though pork fetches a high price, purchased food for swine 
would swallow up all the profits in the pork-market. The 
same remark will apply to poultry, with these addenda, that 
fowls of all kinds are subject to an influenza which carries 
them off in vast numbers, besides which they are bad layers 
of eggs in the colony, as is supposed from the scarcity of 
worms. Dairies pay well near diggings or populous locali- 


— I 



ties, but in remote districts it does not pay to keep a dairy 
on a scale of any magnitude. 

Agriculture of the Tear 1856 (ending 31st March, 1857). 

Crops. Produce. 

Wheat 80,155 acres, produced 1,858,756 bushels. 

Maize 327 

Barley 2,234 

Oats , 25,025 

Potatoes 16,281 

Tobacco 76 

Bye Grass 104 

Hay 51,806 






641,679 „ 
36,895 tons. 
650 cwt. 
115 tons. 


176,008 acres. 

In addition to the above, there were about 2000 acres returned under the 
heading " Gardens," and the remainder comprised turnips and other farm 

Fluctuations in Harvest Produce. 

The following table of averages, deduced from the above figures, will pro- 
bably be regarded not only as interesting, but instructive. 

Average Harvest Produce for the Years 1840-1856, both inclusive. 
























per acre 

per acre 

per acre 

per acre 

per acre 

per acre 

per acre 

per acre 

per acre 



• •* 




• • • 



• • • 







• • • 



• •i 






• « * 

• •• 



• •4 







• • • 



• • 4 










• • 4 










• • 4 










• •4 










• •4 










• • 



• • • 







• • 



• •• 



• *• 



.. • 

• • 
















• • • 



• •a 

















• •• 










• •• 



• •a 







• •• 





VOL. I. 


378 ura iir victobia. 

Harvest Produce is Ekg&awd and Victobia,— u It would be interest- 
ing to me as an agriculturist, and doubtless would prove so to many 
others among your readers, if you could publish, for the purpose of compa- 
rison with the table of Victorian Harvest Produce, an account of the average 
yield in England for several years past I perceive, by the experience of 
seventeen yean in this colony, that the wheat crops yielded annually from 
19} to 29} bushels per acre. Can you tell me how much this varies from 
English rates of produce ? 'A Yasser.' 7 

[The average produce of wheat in 177<y, according to Arthur Young, in 
26 English counties, was 23 bushels per acre. In 1850, according to Caird, 
it was 26} bushels per acre. The range in the former period; 1770, was 
from 18 to 31 bushels, and in the latter, 1850, from 16 tor 32 bushels. The 
weather has much to do with these changes from year to year, as well as 
indifferent farming. An unfavourable season has been known in' the United 
Kingdom to affect the produce to the extent of 10 bushels an acre. A fluc- 
tuation of five bushels an acre above or below the average is not at all un- 
common. Culture goes far to wake up high averages. The lowest yield in 
this colony reported to us dazing the present year is 16 bushete of wheat pear 
acre, and the highest 34 bushels. We have known as much as 40 bushels 
being obtained in England, and no doubt, as science is brought to bear in 
our corn-fields, both in regard to machinery and a right rotation of crops, 
that Victoria will successfully compete in productiveness, not only with all 
her neighbours, but with the most-famed and well-tilled portions of the 
mother country itself.] 

And now let me make a few general remarks about farming 
and agriculture on the large and small scale. First, in re- 
ference to the price of the land, which ia altogether fictitious 
and exorbitant, fetching prices in special localities, even far 
up in the interior, beyond that of the choicest part of the 
Lothians, Norfolk, or Limerick, without any just or sufficient 
reason that I can discover, beyond that feeling of insane 
competition which attends the auction system in ail its 
phases. A few years since, in the glorious era of the 
diggings, people accounted for the ridiculous price of land on 
the principle of "easy. got, easy gone/' affirming that it 
was the affluent digger, who, becoming suddenly possessed 
of wealth, gratified his taste and his pride by making a 
selection, and paying any price asked by the owner. When 


this theory fell through, the prices paid found a justification 
in the enormous prices of all descriptions of farm produce ; 
hay 50Z. per ton on the ground, potatoes 252., and market 
garden-stuff realising still more extraordinary rates. But, 
now-a-days, when all produce has comparatively found its 
level, and that the unparalleled competition in agriculture 
bids fair to overtop the absolute consumption by a long 
chalk, it is a positive mystery to me what can actuate specu- 
lators in paying such outside prices a& they do for land, or 
small purchasers in buying from them at the extreme figures 
current at the present day, when we have the authority of 
the Prime Minister (Mr. Haines), a practical man, and one 
not in the habit of making positive assertions of any kind 
without sufficient warranty, " that farming on a large scale 
will not pay at present 9 ' (1856-57). 

Begarding the foregoing return for 1857, 1 must observe 
that, in consequence of the extreme dryness of the season, it 
is sadly below the average in every description of farm pro- 
duce, but comparing the aereable breadth of land under cul- 
tivation, m wheat and potatoes with the population (exclusive 
of Chinese,, who substitute rice for these edibles), and allow- 
ing a moderate average yield, it would furnish full rations of 
flour and potatoes to every consumer in Victoria, while the 
hay shown in the retmm— low as it k^wotdd leave a large 
surplus after feeding every horse in the colony, including 
the wild with the working. Under thia view of the ease — 
which I Wow k accurate*— I cannot for the life of me see 
how farming, " at present " can be a lucrative occupation, for 
the shallowest thinker must see that it would not pay to 
grow produce for exportation where wages are so high, and 
the cost of transport so excessive. Yet even in. thia aspect 
of the argument I am met by the anomalous and unaccount- 
able fact that California is an exporting country, and at 


times sends large supplies of flour to the Melbourne market, 
even though the wages of farm servants average, by late 
accounts, eighty dollars per month, or 1922. 10s. per year 
(without rations) ; but whether that is a paying trade or not 
remains to be proved. I have my strong suspicions on the 
subject — indeed, I should say I am positively convinced it 
must be a losing game, as I could show by a simple array of 
figures, if I did not apprehend wearying my indulgent reader. 
We all know that the Americans, who are an impulsive 
people, most probably went into forming in excess, and 
having raised a surplusage of grain, were driven to manu- 
facture and export it rather than submit to a total loss. But 
it does not require any abstruse arithmetical calculations to 
demonstrate that paying farm-labourers on the borders of 
200Z. per head, with other expenses bearing a relative propor- 
tion, the farmers of California can scarcely make both ends 
meet, particularly after receiving their account sales from 
Melbourne commission agents. But as even the sage and 
omniscient Manchester manufacturers export at a loss rather 
than accumulate stocks, it is on the cards that wheat-growers 
in the valley of the Sacramento may be compelled, from 
prudential motives, to do likewise. Reviewing the case, 
therefore, of Victorian farming " at present," I am alto- 
gether of Mr. Haines's opinion — I am unable to see how it 
can pay on a large scale just now. Small farmers, who hold 
their own ploughs and wield their own sickles, and whose 
families perform the minor operations, may and can make a 
comfortable living by it ; and when a digger makes a lucky 
hit, I would by all means advise him to buy a little farm, 
" dear though it may be," rather than persecute Fortune in 
gold- seeking, but I would be slow to recommend agricul- 
turists " of the grand type" to emigrate with the expectation 
of augmenting their capital, for, by the time they would 


have realised upon their first crop, and compared the pro- 
ceeds with the purchase-money, the cost of clearing, and 
fencing, and carting, adding to these expenses the little 
labour bill, I fear they would have found out their mistake 
to their cost. 

When the "Distillation Bill" becomes the law of the 
land, and colonists work up the quantities of home-raised 
grain which their consumption of strong drink*would neces- 
sitate ; when farm-lands are sufficiently levelled and cleared 
to admit the wide-spread introduction of mechanical agency ; 
and when, in fine, manual labour reasonably accommodates 
itself — as it must — to the cost of living, farming operations 
may be expanded and respectably remunerated. But these 
precursory inducements will take some time to develop 
themselves, and, until they do, I should say, "Farmers, 
beware, or at least be cautious." 


VOL. I. 2d